Thursday, 25 February 2016

Blog Rationale

(Can anyone explain this cover?)

I never know how many blog readers are regular or new so I do not know how often to explain the blog. The focus is Poul Anderson. However, this can involve discussing Anderson's relationships to his predecessors, contemporaries or successors. Sometimes several posts shift to one of those other authors although, so far, the focus has always returned to Anderson. Those predecessors etc are pretty impressive -

science fiction: Mary Shelley
artificial life: Mary Shelley
time travel: Twain, Wells, de Camp, Heinlein
future history: Wells, Stapledon, Heinlein
cosmic fiction: Stapledon
alien invasion: Wells, Heinlein
space travel: Wells, Verne, Heinlein
hard fantasy: Heinlein

future history: Niven, Pournelle
alternative history: SM Stirling

Having explained this, I will continue to mention Niven and Pournelle's The Mote In God's Eye. Can anyone explain this Star Trek/Mote cover? I did not find an answer by googling.

In Mote, Imperial Space Navy regulations about alien contact define sentient beings as employing tools and communication in purposeful behavior but then state that an alien hive rat meets this definition yet is not sentient. Surely the regs just need to clarify "communication" as language, not mere signals? Hive insects signal to each other but do not converse about or discuss anything.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Yes, the illustration is odd! I don't think it's a double novel because THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE is not short enough to justify pairing with another work.

    Commenting on your last paragraph. Yes, the regulations were confusingly written. They should have simply defined "communication" as the use of language. I could argue the confusion occurred because no one in the Empire had yet made contact with non human rational beings. Which, after centuries of no First Contact, made it easy to get a little sloppy.


  2. Paul:
    Re the illustration: I've seen so many horribly inappropriate covers by now that even this doesn't truly shock me, although it's certainly bizarre. Harry Turtledove said what inspired him to write *The Guns of the South* was Judith Tarr complaining that a cover picture for one of her books was as anachronistic as Robert E. Lee holding an Uzi. But to put not just a picture of the *Enterprise*, but the WORDS *Star Trek*, on the cover ... wow! Somebody in the publishing house was smoking something REALLY heavy-duty that day.

    1. Kaor, Paul!

      The only thing I can think of to make the wierd cover make sense is that somebody was trying to compare Star Trek with THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE. Or, as you said, was stoned! (Smiles)


  3. Paul and Sean:
    I did a little web-searching and was able to find that this was done by an artist using the name AbaKon and posted on the site Apparently he likes, just for the heck of it, to create images of what various sf book covers might look like if those books had been written as set in the *Star Trek* universe.

    He's done ST versions of Heinlein's *Time for the Stars*, Asimov's *The Caves of Steel*, and Clarke's *Rendezvous With Rama*, to name just three. Unlike *Mote* above, most are credited as having been co-written by James Blish, a salute to his adaptations of *Trek* episode scripts.

    An extra bit of weirdness is that when AbaKon posts such a picture, he includes a little introduction phrased as if the image were an actual cover from a crossover series of 40 years ago, referring to having recently rediscovered these books in someone's basement or garage....

    1. Hi, David!

      Thanks for this explanation of baffling picture! I know STAR TREK has a devoted following, but I'm not one of its fans. Truthfully, I find STAR TREK thin, shallow, and superficial after reading the works of such masters as Anderson, Asimov, Bradbury, Clark, Heinlein, and Norton as a boy.

      I would far rather see GOOD film and TV dramatizations of stories by Anderson, Asimov, Heinlein, etc.

      And apologies for yet again misdirecting to Paul a comment of mine I should have addressed to you!