Thursday, 17 October 2013

On Venus

In Latin, it is necessary to know both the nominative and the genitive cases of a noun in order to know the root of the noun. Thus, the genitive of Mars is Martis so the root is Mart-, from which are derived the English adjectives, "martial" and "Martian".

The genitive of Jupiter is Jovis, hence "jovial" and "Jovian." The genitive of Venus is Veneris, hence "venerate," "venerable," "venereal" and, I argue "Venerian," not "Venusian." Wells, Stapledon and Lewis all write "Venerian." However, Poul Anderson writes "Venusian" so it is necessary to use this adjective when referring to his story, "The Big Rain", about the colonization of Venus.

In "The Big Rain", a Venusian city is a single metal and concrete unit, armored against a powerful, endless wind. Hundreds of large Hilsch tubes:

swivel to face the wind;
extract dust and sand for cement;
extract slow air molecules to refrigerate the city against Venusian heat;
extract fast molecules to help run pumps and generators.

There are:

nearly a thousand windmills;
many hectares of hydroponic plants providing oxygen and food;
chemical purifiers and blowers.

The twenty thousand city-dwellers comprise miners, engineers, laborers and technicians with three doctors, a few teachers, librarians, policemen and administrators and fifteen staff for brewing, distilling, tavern-running, movie-operation etc. The Technic Board, or city government, combining legislature, executive and judiciary, owns everything. Every Venusian city has a Board and a federal board in the city of New America decides planetary policy. Entry to the government requires rigid tests, years of apprenticeship, study of history, psychotechnics and physical science and gradual promotion on the recommendation of seniors. The boards comprise just two thousand people governing two million with the help of computers.

Colonists, sent to mine fissionables, included convicts, arbitrarily assigned personnel, the unemployed or those displaced by war. The Venusian colonies were made self-sufficient of necessity and have now declared their independence from Earth.

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