Monday, 18 January 2016

A Symbol Of Freedom

In American science fiction, the ultimate symbol of freedom is interstellar flight. Characters dissatisfied with life on Earth or in the Solar System or just wanting a new start leave:

Slower Than Light

Robert Heinlein
Methuselah's Children (FTL return)
Time For The Stars (FTL return)

Poul Anderson:
The Rustum History
Tales Of The Flying Mountains
Harvest Of Stars
The Boat Of A Million Years

SM Stirling
The Stone Dogs

Robert Siverberg
Tower Of Glass

Faster Than Light

Poul Anderson
The Psychotechnic History
The Technic History

James Blish
Cities In Flight
The Seedling Stars

Isaac Asimov
The End Of Eternity (a bad time travel novel)

Tower Of Glass ends:

"Krug is at peace. He departs forever from Earth. He begins his journey at last."
-Robert Silverberg, Tower Of Glass (St Albans, Herts, 1976), p. 206.

As far as I can remember without rereading the entire novel, Krug has lost everything on Earth and has no guarantee of finding a habitable planet on his arrival in another planetary system. However, like "Le Matelot," quoted in Anderson's Trader To The Stars, it is enough that he is on his way.

Addendum: Anderson's Kith History shows STL interstellar traders but not how they got out of the Solar System in the first place.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And as we both know from reading Anderson's "Commentary" for SPACE FOLK, he believed it was/is possible for mankind to settle the Solar System and then leave for other stars--if we truly want to. And I agree, we do have the technology for at least STARTING this--what is lacking at present is the WILL to do so.

The longer we fecklessly continue to dither about getting off this rock in a serious way the more dangerous it will be! Robert Heinlein's comment about the foolishness of us keeping all our eggs in the one basket called Earth comes to mind.