Saturday, 14 September 2013
- Poul Anderson, Time And Stars, London, 1970, p. 85.
Those were fifteen days during which he was conscious. Consciousness evolved as a means to survival but can now be an end in itself. The time seems wasted if you are thinking about something else that you could have done instead of simply attending to the present moment, practicing awareness. We are cosmic self-consciousness, in scientific knowledge, aesthetic experience and momentary awareness.
This story, "Escape from Orbit," is the kind of sf that CS Lewis called "the Engineer's Story." It presents a technical/human problem, how to get shipwrecked astronauts out of lunar orbit onto the surface where they can be rescued by Apollo Base. As ever, there is a moment when our hero suddenly realizes the solution:
"He stopped. For a very long time he stood altogether motionless." (p. 96)
- followed by successful execution of the solution. Leaving the technical details to the experts, I have instead commented on two other aspects of the short story, the opening dream and the midpoint commuting.
After all these months, can anyone remember whether I have posted about Anderson's novel, The Long Way Home? I will have to check back.