Tuesday, 27 August 2013
Horse Trader II
Anderson uses the name "Almerik" which I think is a planet in a fantasy series?
I found "Horse Trader" somewhat anticlimactic - an amazing premise:
"'...something great is in embryo among the stars, a whole new thing, a...a civilization of civilizations. These technical exchanges are just the beginning.'" (p. 277)
- but all we get is a few of the technical exchanges and a detective story, albeit a reasonably neat one. We should have been able to identify the data thief from among the story's assembled cast.
I commented in an earlier post that, in "Horse Trader," Anderson mentions but does not describe the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri A III, leaving us free to imagine that they are the large humanoid warrior women of "Captive of the Centaurianess," although I could not be sure that the author had intended us to make that connection. Well, he does describe the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri A II and they are large humanoid warrior men so I think it is indeed probable that Anderson was remembering "Captive" when he wrote "Horse Trader."
A being from Epsilon Indi is referred to as an "Epsilonian" although there is a temptation to coin the term "Indian".
I just do not buy a succession of aliens that resemble, respectively, a duck, a walrus-mustached centaur, a demon (who sits on his tail like a Merseian) and a Viking. Either the ET's are not out there or they are nothing that we could imagine, which is why Arthur C Clarke kept them off-screen in 2001.
And the story leaves us with a question, although scarcely with a cosmic one: what might "amphitronics" mean?