Friday, 1 November 2013

Star Ship

According to the Chronology of the Psychotechnic History (Poul Anderson, Starship, New York, 1982, pp. 283-284), "Star Ship" is set in 2875. Fifty years previously, thus in 2825, ten Terrestrial married couples had been marooned on the inhabited planet Khazak.

Also according to the Chronology, the hyperdrive was invented in 2784. According to "Gypsy," a few years later, the Traveler left Sol for Alpha Centauri with "'...a load of colonists...'" (p. 19). Thrown thousands of light years off course by an unexplained phenomenon, later revealed to be a trepidation vortex, the Traveler spent over twenty years looking for home before settling on Harbor. The narrator, Thorkild Erling, was born and raised in the Traveler. His son, Einar, nine years old, is growing up on Harbor. The Chronology says that "Gypsy" is set in 2815.

If "...a few years..." is three, if over twenty years means twenty one and if Einar was born soon after the arrival on Harbor, then that would give us 2817, approximately, as the date of "Gypsy." Thorkild and his companions take another year to prepare for their return to space as the first of the Nomads. The similarity to James Blish's flying cities becomes explicit when Thorkild reflects that:

"When our descendants were many, they would build other ships until there was a fleet, a mobile city hurtling from sun to sun." (p. 32)

Blish's Okie cities are compared to pollinating bees of the galaxy. The Nomads will be "...the bloodstream of the interstellar civilization..." (ibid.)

If we try to put more detail into this section of the Chronology, then, leaving out a few minor events, we get something like:

2784 Hyperdrive invented
2787 Traveler lost because of a trepidation vortex
2800 New Hope lost because of a trepidation vortex, crash lands on Atlantis
2808 Traveler colonizes Harbor
2818 Traveler initiates Nomadism
2825 Star Ship marooned on Khazak
2875 The events of "Star Ship" on Khazak
2900 Stellar Union and Coordination Service founded
3040 Nerthus colonized
3100 A survey man from Nerthus discovers the isolated Atlantean colony
3120 A Coordination Service field agent turns Nomad
3200 The Third Dark Ages

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