Friday, 29 August 2014

A Progressive Novel

Poul Anderson's Brain Wave changes as we read it. It is successively:

a contemporary novel of enhanced intelligence;
a near future novel of technological advances, including interstellar exploration;
an ultimate vision of a cosmic future.

This progression and conclusion put Brain Wave alongside other Anderson novels, like Tau Zero, World Without Stars and After Doomsday, that place mankind in a galactic or cosmic setting. In fact, despite the novel's pedestrian beginning, the intelligence inhibitor field emanating from the galactic center had already given it an interstellar context before any of its characters left the atmosphere.

Another hard sf writer who did this was Fred Hoyle. Extrasolar influences reached Earth even though Hoyle's characters stayed on the ground.

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