Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Winding Up On World Without Stars II

Poul Anderson's Tau Zero mentions planets of an intergalactic red dwarf and his World Without Stars is set on one. World Without Stars mentions the cosmic collapse and Tau Zero is about it.

"...must we kill through all time, until time ends when the disgusted universe collapses inward on us?" (World Without Stars, New York, 1966, pp. 115-116)

Thus, cosmic collapse is invoked in a comment on conflict but it also reminds us of the novel's cosmic context.

The wise and capable Hugh Valland, spaceman, singer and sometime soldier, shows us that an ancient and apparently impregnable empire might be ripe for overthrow:

" '...there can't be an awful lot of Herd soldiers. The downdevils never needed many, and won't have time to breed a horde - which they couldn't supply anyway.' " (p. 118)

This is realistic, practical and also inspiring thinking.

The spaceship is lit by "evershine[s]," (p. 31) a phrase simultaneously suggesting both a future advance in technology and a part of the environment that has been around for a long time, like evergreens.

Back on Earth, Argens visits a man who looks young but has the manner of age. That paradox would exist with the antithanatic.

Argens' rented flying "flitter," "...had bunk, bed and food facilities." (p. 124) Here is another example of advanced technology, in this case suggesting that, beyond a certain stage of technical development, it should be possible for anyone to go anywhere in comfort. He is even able, inside the flitter, to tune in to "...multisense programs..." but they "...were not for a spaceman..." so he prefers to go for a walk. (p. 124):

"This was Manhome. No matter how far we range, the salt and the rhythm of her tides will always be in our blood." (p. 124)

That passage could have appeared in any futuristic novel about space travel and is a good place for me to discontinue these concluding remarks.

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