Monday, 26 August 2013

Captive Of The Centaurianess

Although Poul Anderson's "Captive of the Centaurianess" (The Gods Laughed, 1982) was published in 1978, it reads like Golden Age sf and was probably written in that style to reflect the fact that it was being published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Adventure Magazine. (Later: See correction in Comments.)

There is:

an italicized introduction about heroes taken from Origins of the Galactic Era;
a World Union on Earth;
a breakaway Confederated Satellites of Jupiter resulting from a "Symmetrist Revolution" (p. 153);
an intelligent tentacled Martian race, excelling at mathematics;
slower than light travel with suspended animation between the Solar System and Alpha Centauri A III;
humanoid Centaurians resulting either from coincidence or from parallel evolution, still practicing animal sacrifice;
Martian mathematics proving the possibility of faster than light travel so that we indeed seem to be at the origin of a Galactic Era.

Since the story is 85 pages long, I will have to read the rest of it later. Meanwhile, there is one surprise, although maybe I was at fault for misreading the title - a Centaurianess is not a female centaur but a female Centaurian biped.

8 comments:

  1. Hi, Paul!

    I'm afraid a small mistake was made here. "Captive of the Centaurianess" WAS originally first pub. in the March 1952 issue of PLANET STORIES. So it was indeed both an early story by Poul Anderson and written during what some call the Silver Age of SF. The story was merely RE-printed in ISAAC ASIMOV'S SF MAGAZINE in 1978. I don't understand why this was not so stated in the publication credits page of our copies of THE GODS LAUGHED.

    Sean

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  2. Sean,
    Thank you for the correction! This is where reader feedback becomes essential. Now that you mention it, I think I had seen "Centaurianess" republished elsewhere with the correct publication history given.
    Paul.

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    1. Hi, Paul!

      Anytime! Glad to have been of some assistance to you. And readers might be interested to know you uploaded a note by me listing and giving some comments on the stories Poul Anderson wrote for PLANET STORIES.

      Sean

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  3. And that note, dated Thurs 23 May 2013, does indeed list "Captive of the Centaurianess."

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    1. Hi, Paul!

      And I quoted some comments Poul Anderson made about how he got tired of the stereotypes PLANET STORIES favored. And how he inverted those stereotypes in stories like "Captive." It also speaks well for PS that it stil published those stories.

      Sean

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  4. And the article Sean wrote is here.

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  5. Hi, Ketlan!

    Cool! Many thanks.

    Sean

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