Sunday, 28 July 2013
Some Remaining Details In "Earthman, Beware!"
Four concluding comments on "Earthman, Beware!":
(i) One sentence in this story contains a phrase that became important in a later Anderson series:
"The long night wore on."
(Alight In The Void, New York, 1993, p. 45)
(ii) In the first seven pages of the story, Peggy has tracked Joel to his Alaskan cabin. So far, the story could have had a contemporary setting although with the science fictional elements of Joel's partial telepathy and his robot chef invention. Then suddenly, Joel thinks:
"Maybe he should have gone to Mars or some outer-planet satellite." (p. 36)
With this sentence, we are wrenched into a futuristic scenario where interplanetary travel is routine. We are used to such scenarios in science fiction but are usually given notice of them earlier in a story. Two pages further on, we are informed that Joel invented the ion-jet space drive so it seems that he is responsible for interplanetary travel.
(iii) A single word can trigger an entirely accidental association in one reader's mind. Joel's human foster parents were called not Kent but Weatherfield. I live on Blades St in the city of Lancaster in the county of Lancashire. Since December 1960, a British TV series has shown the denizens of Coronation St in the fictitious town of Weatherfield, Lancashire. (Apparently, Weatherfield is a hour by motorway from Lancaster. If only I knew which direction to drive in...) So maybe the foster parents' ancestors came from the North West of England...
(iv) When, in the very last sentence:
"Dr Joel Weatherfield, eminent young physicist, rose cheefully and began making ready to go home." (p. 60)
- he has been made to forget his personal cosmic connection. We are Joel. We are all connected to the cosmos and are usually unaware of it.