Wednesday, 16 October 2013

"Close To Being A Superman"

In the post, "SF Super Heroes," I described Poul Anderson's Un-Men as super heroes in all but name. Then, continuing to reread the story "Un-Man," I found that Stefan Rostomily, the genetic template for the Brotherhood of identical Un-Men is described as:

"...close to being a superman." (The Psychotechnic League, New York, 1981, p. 114)

Stef was:

balanced and sane despite his childhood in World War II and young adulthood in World War III;
poor and uprooted but self-educated;
gentle except when violence was necessary;
but then as violent as necessary;
still strong when he died aged nearly sixty.


appreciated the literatures of a dozen languages;
composed songs that are still sung after his death;
painted murals of the Martian landscape;
invented the Rostomily valve.

The UN utilizes this "'...happy genetic accident...'" (p. 115) with an army of Rostomily clones, "'...a brotherhood of supermen...'" (p. 128) - although the word "clone" had not been coined yet. They are produced by "'Exogenesis...'" (p. 127). The widow of one Brother quotes Shakespeare, "'...we band of brothers -'"

Her husband, like all the Brothers, had loved Shakespeare. But could a love of Shakespeare be genetic?


Anonymous said...

Could a love of Shakespeare be genetic? Perhaps not quite, but there are cases of twins separated in infancy bearing astonishing resemblances to each other. In one case, one man had a son named James Allen, and the other a son named James Alan. They also had such similar senses of humor that, when monitored while they slept (separately), they both plunged the thermometers into icewater as a jest upon the psychologists monitoring them.

I doubt that there is a strand of DNA specific to Shakespeare appreciation, but a combination of genes might predispose someone to like a certain style of drama, and to appreciate a certain type of verbal pyrotechnics.

Regards, Nicholas (not as much of a Shakespeare reader as I should be, myself)

Paul Shackley said...

And thank you for this information and speculation.