Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Mirkheim, Prologue, Y minus 500,000 and Y minus 18

In the first, page-length, Prologue subsection, Poul Anderson describes stellar events with no human or other intelligent intervention. He does not use an omniscient narrator, which would have been appropriate, because he writes, "...we cannot say. We simply know that..." (Mirkheim, London, 1978, p. 1).

A blue-white giant star, as bright as a hundred Sols, existed for four hundred million years. Very unusually, it had at least one planet, which had the mass of fifteen hundred Earths.

Exhausting its hydrogen, the star, because of its size, did not swell and redden but collapsed, releasing energies that created new elements and caused a supernova explosion which, briefly, was nearly as radiant as the rest of the galaxy.

Any Earth-sized planet would have been entirely vaporized, including even its iron core, but, although the giant planet lost most of its mass, its core merely became molten and was covered with matter from the exploding star. Both star and planet were surrounded by a nebula which eventually dissipated.

David Falkayn used a computer to calculate the probability of a former supernova with a super-Jovian planet, then followed an optimal search pattern through space till he found one. From that point onwards, the story is of living beings, not stars or planets. 

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