Tuesday, 5 February 2013
What is Earth like in that period in our future?
What means of interstellar travel are used?
Have other extrasolar planets been visited?
Are any of them inhabited?
Do any other races have interstellar travel?
Is such travel regular or are there just occasional exploratory voyages?
Poul Anderson's Fire Time (London, 1977) describes the planet Ishtar whose distinguishing feature is that it is periodically scorched by its close approach to a red giant companion star. Such a planet could have existed in any future scenario, whether in one of Anderson's several future history series or in a new scenario specially created for this particular novel.
In this second novel, Anderson has to describe:
how Earth got into a war with Naqsa;
how Fire Time affects the native Ishtarians;
how both the war and the Fire Time affect the human explorers on Ishtar.
Having previously read Fire Time only once many years ago, I must now reread it carefully in order to find and comment on Anderson's treatment of these questions.