Monday, 12 June 2017

Ecology

SM Stirling, The Scourge Of God (New York, 2009), Chapter Eighteen, pp. 429-430.

Tens of thousands of bison graze;
they stir up insects;
birds fly about the bisons' feet to catch the insects;
wolves follow, hoping to catch a calf;
the wolves sheer off as mounted human beings approach;
eagles fly above, hoping for something bigger to be flushed by the herd.

Here, at least nine species interact:

grass;
bison;
insects;
small birds;
wolves;
human beings;
horses;
eagles;
whatever the eagles swoop on.

It is good to read a narrative that makes us aware of interacting species, not just human beings. When Poul Anderson imagines a planet, he has to create its ecology ex nihilo.

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I love Stirling's alternate history time lines novels, but I also miss hard SF set on carefully thought out and portrayed planets. These days I see little of that kind of SF, of which PA was a master.

    Sean

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