Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Three On Jupiter

I refer to three fictitious accounts of the exploration of Jupiter:

James Blish, Cities In Flight (London, 1981);
Clifford Simak, City (London, 1965);
Poul Anderson, "Call Me Joe," IN The Dark Between The Stars (New York, 1981).

In Blish, Robert Helmuth on Jupiter V dons a helmet and perceives the Jovian environment through instruments on a car that moves along the Bridge being built on the Jovian surface;

In Anderson, Edward Anglesey on Jupiter V dons a helmet and perceives the Jovian environment through the central nervous system of an artificially grown quadrupedal organism that has been sent to the Jovian surface;

In Simak, Kent Fowler in a dome on Jupiter is transformed into a quadrupedal organism and sent out onto the Jovian surface.

Thus, Anderson's account is intermediate between Blish's and Simak's. Anglesey and Fowler wind up happy in their Jovian bodies whereas Helmuth hates that environment and wants to get away from it. Blish told me that he could not have described Jupiter as a comfortable place. His "Bridge" came from an experience under a New York bridge that shook as a train passed overhead.

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