Monday, 31 July 2017

The Sunset Of Mankind

HG Wells' The Time Machine and Poul Anderson's Genesis share:

imaginative and creative sf;
colorful descriptions of future periods;
reflections on the direction and ultimate fate of civilization;
a cosmic temporal perspective;
the decadence and eventual extinction of mankind.

We have commended Anderson's descriptions of sunsets, including one in Genesis. See A Perfect Haiku and Sunrise And Sunset.

The Time Machine, Chapter 6, "The Sunset Of Mankind," contains this descriptive passage:

"The sun had already gone below the horizon and the west was flaming gold, touched with some horizontal bars of purple and crimson. Below was the valley of the Thames, in which the river lay like a band of burnished steel." (p. 36)

Then:

"It seemed to me that I had happened upon humanity on the wane. The ruddy sunset set me thinking of the sunset of mankind." (p. 37)

Pathetic fallacy? The text of the novel begins on p. 7. Thus, only thirty pages into the text, the Time Traveller is beginning to draw conclusions about 802,701 AD although he does not yet have the full facts. He has seen the Eloi but not yet the Morlocks.

Poul Anderson connects a sunset with the decline of empire. See Irumclaw.

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    GENESIS shows us the extinction of mankind as a result of boredom, ennui, frustration. "Murphy's Hall," in a way prefigures "In Memoriam," which shows us how the human race became extinct in a different way. All three belong to that subcategory of Anderson's works exploring various kinds of dystopian SF.

    Sean

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