Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Gods Laughed

I am switching from Space Folk to The Gods Laughed (New York, 1982) because I think that the latter includes a story that is the obverse of "Backwardness," in other words a story about first contact with an alien race that is more intelligent than humanity - but I will find out. If the story that I am thinking of is not in this collection, then it must be in another.

Meanwhile, The Gods Laughed collects nine stories on the theme of human-alien contact, including:

"Peek! I See You!" and "Details," both discussed recently because reread in other collections;

"A Little Knowledge," part of Anderson's Technic Civilization History;

"Captive of the Centaurianess," which I think connects with "A Bicycle Built for Brew";

"Soldier From the Stars" - I remember the theme of this story, how to conquer Earth without destroying any of it, but I will reread it to appreciate the details;

"The Word to Space," in which a Jesuit descended from Moriarty confuses some aliens by questioning their religious dogmatism.

That leaves three stories:

"The Martyr"
"When Half Gods Go"

- and, having glanced through the book, I am no longer sure that any of them is the one I thought, but they will be worth reading in any case.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Actually, the story you are thinking of as the "obverse" of "Backwardness" is in THE GODS LAUGHED. But I don't want to spoil it for you before you read it.

I will say that "Captive of the Centaurianess" is one of stories Anderson wrote for PLANET STORIES and is not tied to or connected to "A Bicycle Built for Brew." In some ways, I don't think "Captive" is as sophisticated as "Bicycle," but it's certainly worth reading. Especially because of the sardonic humor and the delight Anderson took in "Captive" in reversing some of the stereotyped trophes PLANET STORIES favored.


Paul Shackley said...

I thought maybe "Centaurianess" and "Bicycle" had the same race of Martians? But I'll find out?

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Well, possibly. I might be wrong. Been some time since I read both "Captive" and "Bicycle." The latter story amused me by how Anderson had beer being used as "fuel."