Friday, 28 March 2014

The Moon

How many of Poul Anderson's works are set in the Lunar environment, by which I do not mean just "on the Moon"? Parts of Satan's World and one short section of the Time Patrol series are set on the Moon but inside very high tech artificial environments.

In the Harvest of Stars future history, the Selenarchs, tall thin human beings adapted to Lunar gravity, inhabit entirely enclosed environments which, however, they make spacious and beautiful. They have animals adapted to survive naked on the Lunar surface and also colonize both the outer Solar System and an extra-solar asteroid belt but again, of course, inside artificial environments.

Anderson postulates almost Wellsian Lunar or Selenite organisms in Is There Life on Other Worlds? and describes an ambitious Lunar terraforming project in one short story. There is a first Moon landing in the parallel universe of Operation Luna.

"The Light" is a "first men on the Moon" story and "Escape the Morning" is a near future Moon colonization story. "The Light" is similar to CS Lewis' "Forms of Things Unknown." Each of these two stories presents a hard sf account of a vividly imagined Lunar landscape but ends with an abrupt leap into fantasy.

5 comments:

  1. Hi, Paul!

    I had completely forgotten about how the genetically adapted Lunarians of the HARVEST OF STARS books had bred animals which could survive naked on the surface of the Moon. That is one thing I want to take special note of the next time I read those books!

    I don't agree "The Light" ends in fantasy. Rather, as the narrator explained to the scholar he was recruiting for studying the papers of Leonardo da Vinci, their task was to find some hint of what kind of SCIENTIFIC invention Leonardo had discovered which enabled him to reach the Moon using the otherwise less advanced technology of the 1400's and 1500's.

    "The Light" is yet another of those stories written by Poul Anderson which sticks in my mind!

    Sean

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  2. Sean,
    Not really fantasy, no. But very fantastic! A sudden jump away from the plausible hard sf of the story up to that point.
    I think that the animal artificially mutated to live on the Moon appears only once, briefly, in one of the 4 vols.
    Paul.

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    1. Hi, Paul!

      Yes, I can agree with that. "The Light" SEEMED to be merely a prosaic hard SF story about the first men on the Moon, and then Anderson brought in that sudden, unexpected twist about Leonardo da Vinci. A twist which elevated "The Light" to being a far more interesting story than what we were led to expect.

      Memo to self: get a piece of paper and write "look out for the animal bred to survive naked on the Moon's surface," and stick it in HARVEST OF STARS.

      Sean

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  3. Sean,
    You will find the animal (a lynx?) in the one volume that is much shorter: HARVEST THE FIRE.
    Paul.

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    1. Hi, Paul!

      Aha! Then I should stick that note in my copy of HARVEST THE FIRE. Many thanks!

      Sean

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