Friday, 4 March 2016

Effects Of Isolation

On different planets in Poul Anderson's Technic History:

the meanings of words have changed so that communication problems cause conflicts with a newly arrived spaceship crew;

biology has changed so that, until they receive dietary help, males in one population can reach puberty only by practicing cannibalism and another population, exposed to high radiation, has become unable to interbreed with the rest of humanity;

psychology has changed so that an entire planetary population is saner than the human norm but goes collectively mad once a year.

"The Longest Voyage" and "Memory" are stories about isolated planets set outside the Technic History. In the former, a stranded astronaut is killed so that the isolated planetary population will be able to rediscover space technology for itself instead of losing its identity by being instantly absorbed into the interstellar civilization.

In Jerry Pournelle's King David's Spaceship, technology has declined so that a kingdom on Prince Samual's World must acquire a spaceship in order to be admitted to the Empire at a higher level.

Thus, four issues addressed are language, biology, psychology and technology.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I know exactly which Anderson works you have in mind: "A Tragedy Of Errors," "The Sharing Of Flesh," and THE NIGHT FACE. The first has elements of grim tragicomedy in it while the last is a truly chilling tale!

And the kingdom in Pournelle's KING DAVID'S SPACESHIP has to not merely acquire a spaceship but build and fly one to justify entering the Second Empire at a higher political level.


Paul Shackley said...

And "Starfog."

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And one thing I remember from "Starfog" was how adapting to the high background radiation of the planet found by the ancestors of the Kirkasanters had made that people unable to have children by other humans.