Monday, 26 August 2013

Centaurianess II

According to one internet reviewer, Poul Anderson updated "Captive of the Centaurianess" for its appearance in the first issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Adventure Magazine, so it must be the updated version that we read in the collection The Gods Laughed (New York, 1982) although, as the reviewer also remarked, " still reads dated."

Having read to the end of "Centaurianess," I do not have much more to say about it. It contains:

the Golden Age sf idea of plants and animals on Ganymede;
yet another description of a first faster than light (FTL) interstellar journey;
the problem, occasionally encountered in sf, of re-locating the Solar System after crossing an interstellar distance;
yet another dictatorship overthrown by the end of a story.

I would guess that the update includes part of the description of the FTL flight:

"The starbow of science fiction song and story pinched out into invisibility; he flew through total blindness." (pp. 203-204)

But, if anyone has Planet Stories March 1952, they might like to comment?

I think that this story would fit better in a collection of stories from that era. It does not really belong with the later, more serious speculations collected in The Gods Laughed. Which, if any, is the superior race in this story?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...


But I believe one of the reasons Poul Anderson wrote "Captive" the way he did was to invert the stereotypes favored by PLANET STORIES. Compared the grandiose "quote" from the "history" text at the beginning of the story and see HOW the major characters did not actually comform to the mythologizing description in that "text." The difference is one means Anderson used of showing sardonic humor.