Sunday, 17 November 2013

Connections With Fiction II

In Poul Anderson's Is There Life On Worlds? (New York, 1963):

The Technic Civilization History

(i) "It may be possible to make a very large number of small quantum jumps per second." (p. 166)
This is the kind of "hyperspace" used in the Technic History, thus it is not a fourth spatial dimension.

(ii) "[Interstellar] Commerce will deal mostly in luxuries and curiosa." (p. 168)
Hence, Nicholas van Rijn's Solar Spice & Liquors Company.

(iii) "...hydrogen and oxygen breathers can have little to trade with each other and perhaps little to say to each other once some scientific questions have been answered." (p. 168)
Thus, the Dispersal of Ymir (hydrogen breathers, colonizing Jovoid planets) occupies the same space as the Terran Empire and the Merseian Rhoidunate (oxygen breathers, colonizing terrestroid planets).

(iv) "Joint colonization is not unthinkable, and could lead to some extraordinarily interesting societies." (p. 188)
This one sentence makes me want to reread the two short stories and one novel set on the joint human-Ythrian colony planet Avalon. Anderson systematically presents colonization of the islands, colonization of the continent and resistance to Terran imperialism.

Tau Zero

(v) "Alternatively, the gas of space might be scooped up and used as fuel and ram jet reaction mass.This would permit...velocities very close indeed to c." (p. 198)
This is the Bussard ram jet, used in Tau Zero and in some other works of sf. In Tau Zero, the spaceship approaches c with spectacular results. Unfortunately, Anderson adds, "...I am not sure that it is really feasible." (ibid.)

(vi) "Interstellar navigation will be difficult." (p. 199)
Anderson mentions the Doppler effect, aberration and imprecise location of destination. In Tau Zero, the ship at near light speed must navigate in the dark between clusters of galaxies. New sciences must effectively be created for this purpose.

(To be continued.)

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Paul!

    One point which I think needs to be made in any comments made about the Terran/Ythrian war seen in THE PEOPLE OF THE WIND is noting the RESTRAINT shown by the Empire over the double colony of Avalon. If the Empire had been really determined to get that planet, it would have been far more ruthless during the fighting. Instead, it was willing, despite some anger, to let Avalon remain in the Domain as long as concessions were made to it else where. I suspect the Merseians would been willing to STERILIZE Avalon in an analogous situation.

    Sean

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