Thursday, 3 October 2013

Jovian Society

In Poul Anderson's The Snows Of Ganymede (New York, 1958), the colonists on Ganymede are called Jovians, not Ganymedeans. After over a century of isolation, they speak a dialect variant of archaic English with "y'all" as the second person plural pronoun.

This reminded me of a point that I forgot to make when discussing Perish By The Sword. In that novel, a character who has been faking an accent is advised, first, that "you-all" is a plural and, secondly, that it is usually pronounced more like "y'all." "You-all" is indeed a plural but, in terms of usage, I think that I have heard it used to address a single person and with the first syllable fully pronounced!

Jovian society has four classes:

Cincs are the rulers - Cincs of first and second grade are ex officio Archangels;
Angels are priests, artists, engineers, poets, scientists and philosophers;
Hounds are tall, genetically identical security men;
Sergeants are commoners, "...part of the machinery..." (p. 35), capable only of unskilled manual labor, for which they are cheaper than automation or robotics, with no individuality, conditioned and continually propagandized - Porters are silent and have four arms;
children, taken early from creches, are psych-tested and, if picked for Angel or Cinc, "...never told who their parents were" (ibid.);
each Cinc above novice level maintains as many guards as he can support to protect him not from the easily controlled Sergeants but from other Cincs because:

"'God gives victory to the righteous, but we men can't know who that is. Many're called but few're chosen.'" (p. 36)

Well, that is one way to find out which ones God favors!

The novel gives a practical example of psychotechnic manipulation. When the White American opponents of the American government began to fund the colony on Ganymede, the government surreptitiously subsidized the colony because:

"'The Psychotechs foresaw that the attempt would exhaust and break up the organization on Earth.'" (p. 16)

Thus, the science of social prediction was used not necessarily for the common good but for sectional interests. Consequently, the Psychotechnicians were later overthrown by the Humanists.


TrevorHMCooper said...

Here is a spaceship that was originally designed to take a 12 person crew past our moon to explore or SolarSystem.
Holiday in outer space with Tasha9503

Paul Shackley said...

Thank you, Trevor.