Sunday, 23 October 2016

On Satan

We usually read about the deeds of conscious beings but there are dramatic events even in inanimate environments. The rogue planet, Satan, has fallen to just over one astronomical unit from the blue giant, Beta Crucis:

this newly acquired sun, with four times the angular diameter of Sol, "...rage[s] on the horizon..." (David Falkayn: Star Trader, p. 449);

the sky is incandescent;

the roiling clouds are white with steam, black with volcanic smoke or gray but lightning-lit;

terrible winds, rain, Satan-quakes and floods lash stony plains;

glacial melt cascades from mountain flanks;

vapor spreads over half a continent, becoming mist in the chill air, but is cut by a tornado, then dispersed by gales;

island-sized icebergs, concealed by monstrous waves, collide and are destroyed;

the turbulent upper atmosphere rocks the descending spaceship - clamor and thunderstorms;

Falkayn, naming the planet, is interrupted by "...blindness and racket..." (p. 450);

tropical afternoons have clear skies followed by violent weather with wind velocities over 500 kph and rising;

the antarctic has heavy rain and frequent supersqualls;

a strong front from the cold north preserves comparative atmospheric tranquility;

Muddlin' Through lands near the arctic circle on an unflooded stable northern continent shortly before dawn;

Falkayn sees dark rock, mountain crags, white glaciers, clear stars, streaking meteors and dancing aurora;

the atmosphere is unbreathable and minus 75 degrees Celsius;

the ground is below minus 200 and will take years to warm;

conditions will always vary, causing chaotic weather;

leaving the ship, Falkayn stands not on a new world but on an old world reborn;

cold and stellar radiation mean that he can spend only half an hour outside;

when he has collected data and samples and started back, a cliff explodes and a torrent of liquids and solids engulfs him.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Very dramatic, indeed! Maybe SATAN'S WORLD should be the next book by Poul Anderson I reread.