Wednesday, 25 March 2015
A Few Details On Venus
SM Stirling, The Sky People (New York, 2006).
(i) Venus has no moon so it has no tides, right? Wrong. There are "...low solar-only tides..." (p. 19).
(ii) One domesticated animal on Venus is the tharg (p. 23). Tharg is the name of the fictional alien Editor of the British comic, 2000 AD, but that has to be a coincidence.
(iii) Is it grammatically incorrect to split an infinitive?
Star Trek: "...to boldly go..."
Stirling: "...to not bother people..." (p. 22)
No. Grammarians trying to model English grammar on Latin grammar thought that an English infinitive should never be split because a Latin infinitive is never split. However, a Latin infinitive cannot be split because it is a single word: amare, to love. We can do what we want in English.
(iv) The multiple qualifications of people sent to Venus are demonstrated in "'Wing Commander Christopher Blair, RAF...Anthropology and linguistics, lighter-than-air pilot...'" (p. 22).
(v) When do timelines diverge? For people on Earth, the Sky People timeline diverged from ours in the 1960's when a probe landed on Venus. But Venus and Mars had diverged a long time ago.
(vi) If their Earth was the same as ours until the 1960's, then Wing Commander Blair might be related to one of our recent British Prime Ministers?
(vii) Christopher Blair has "...an excruciatingly Etonian voice..." (ibid.) just as Mainwethering in Poul Anderson's Time Patrol had an Oxford accent so cultivated as to be almost incomprehensible. Are these North American caricatures of British characters? Maybe, except that there really are British people like that.