Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Martyr II

A few times before, I have posted immediate impressions of the opening passage of a short story, then later have posted about the story's conclusion. In the case of Poul Anderson's "The Martyr," however, I prefer to leave it to others to read the conclusion. Suffice it to say that, as in Arthur C Clarke's Childhood's End, we might have here an alien race able to answer questions as to the truth or falsity of religious beliefs.

But let us consider the theoretical basis of the story: a cosmic psionic standing wave increased by each new psycho-physical organism and not decreased by their deaths, thus an advance of the universe towards spirituality. Psychic powers, including even almost instantaneous interstellar teleportation, do not deplete any individual psychic's energy because the powers are exercised by accessing the standing wave.

Maybe the wave can provide an inter-cosmic meeting place for the Black Nebulans and the Chereionites of the Technic Civilization universe and the Cibarrans of this single story universe - their version of the Old Phoenix? Nebulans and Cibarrans can teleport across interstellar distances. Chereionites seem either not to have had or to have lost this ability but their last survivor is a universal telepath.

There is scope for a further story to unify this cosmic or, conceivably hyper-cosmic, basis of psychic phenomena.

(I want to complete the month with a round number of posts like either the current 90 or maybe 100 so, if less than 10 more posts are written before the end of August 31, they will be saved and posted on or after September 1.)

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

"The Martyr" is one of those stories and novels written by Poul Anderson which startled me by their surprising, disturbing, or even shocking endings. Some others being "Welcome," WORLD WITHOUT STARS, "Eutopia," "Murphy's Hall," etc.

My admiration and respect for Poul Anderson is due not only to his skill in writing, but also because of how boldly he was willing to examine disturbing and shocking plots/conclusions.