Sunday, 27 October 2013

Virgin Planet

"Virgin Planet" by Poul Anderson was:

published in Venture Science Fiction, 1957;
novelized in 1959;
republished in the Anderson collection, Starship (New York, 1982), pp. 83-181.

In my copy of Virgin Planet (London, 1966), the text of the novel is on pp. 9-149. Thus, 41 more pages, with smaller, closer print, than the shorter version in Venture and Starship. Pp. 150-156 are an Author's Note, explaining the premises of the novel:

the light speed limit applies to group velocity but not to phase velocity so "...a device for handling discontinuous psi functions..." (p. 150) allows a faster than light psuedo-velocity " only by the frequency of the engine's oscillators" (ibid.) and gravity control;

a spatial condition called a trepidation vortex, as explained in the novel, can occur;

"...a nearly perfect dielectric..." (p. 151) makes small, manageable blaster guns feasible (an earlier story in this, Psychotechnic, future history mentioned "dielectrics" as making destructive weapons feasible for smaller groups and I commented that this idea should reappear as part of the background of later installments);

electronic readjustment of emotional patterns;
interstellar emigration for psychological, not economic, reasons;
the Stellar Union and its Coordination Service;
a Basic language and a Cosmic religion;
the galaxy mapped with reference to constellations as seen from base planets like Nerthus.

This background information might be more interesting than the story although I will shortly reread the latter, at least in the shorter version. One difference that I remember between the two versions is that one of them shows Lesbianism within the women only colony whereas the other does not.

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