Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Shape Of The Ship

"...the fact that the pilot room and hence the captain's quarters had to be directly in the bow on the axis of rotation - the only spot where there was an outside view except via telescreen - had dictated the placement of all officer areas nearby."
-Poul Anderson, Cold Victory (New York, 1983), p. 76.

Thus, Anderson's generation ship is shaped exactly like Heinlein's. It is a large pointed cylinder rotated to simulate gravity by centrifugal force. Apart from the bow, the only place for portholes would be on the floors of the outermost deck. Thus, the descendants of Heinlein's mutineers, living only on the inner decks and without access to the bow, do not know that there is an external universe.

Apparently, this means that there is free fall along the axis of rotation although I am always reliant on the author's scientific knowledge for such data.

An sf author can either generate new ideas or address his colleagues' ideas in new ways. In "The Troublemakers," Anderson combines Heinlein's generation ship with Asimov's science of society in a new way. There is no need to disguise the resemblance of the two generation ships. In fact, the idea's recognizability is an appropriate acknowledgment or homage to the earlier author.

No comments: