Wednesday, 27 November 2013
The War Of Two Worlds II
"Sundown was brief, night came swiftly out of the Atlantic and flowed across the world. A few lamps blinked on in the city, but most of it lay in darkness; there was more light overhead, as the stars came out." (p. 5)
I have realized only now that I should have asked: why is the city dark? This is explained later.
Many works of fiction describe Terrestrial sunsets but science fiction also describes scenes elsewhere in the Solar System:
"The asteroid spun swiftly through a great cold dark, between a million frosty stars and the glittering belt of the Milky Way. The sun was remote, a tiny heartless disc whose light was pale on the cruel jagged rocks." (p. 10)
Two very different views of the Sun.
A third quotation indirectly links the first two as a spaceman returned from the asteroid looks across a city:
"They'd told me New York had had it bad, but I never realized it would be like this.
"The haughty skyline of Manhattan was a jumble of steel skeletons, stripped, snapped off, and stark against the sky." (p. 15)
(Some of the buildings had also melted.) Quoting this single sentence, I have just noticed its alliteration: sky, steel, skeletons, stripped, snapped, stark, sky - and listing the "s" words highlights the sky "sandwich".
That third quotation answers the question raised by the first. Cities are dark because Earth has been hit hard in a space war. The first time reader reads on to find out what happens next...
A straightforward pulp sf plot but with well-observed details elevating Anderson's writing above the pulp level.