Thursday, 26 March 2015

Earth-Like Venus

SM Stirling, The Sky People (New York, 2006).

Unfamiliar Terms
"...podna..." (p. 73);
"...berm..." (p. 78);
"...syllabic alphabet..." (p. 74)

(I knew of syllables and of alphabets but not of syllabic alphabets.)

I must emphasize again that what I am doing here is appreciating a rich vocabulary, not complaining of incomprehensibility!

In one respect, Stirling's fictional Venus differs from the Golden Age planets that it vicariously recalls. Even when a dominant race was fully humanoid, an author like ERB would ensure that his Martians etc rode un-equine equivalents of horses, domesticated un-canine equivalents of dogs etc. On Barsoom, his main though not his only way of doing this was to ensure that the Martian animals were always multi-pedal, even though a fellow fan commented that four was the most probable number of limbs. I was disappointed when a comic strip presented "banths," the Barsoomian equivalents of lions, as recognizably leonine apart from the greater number of limbs.

On Stirling's Venus:

"'...dis ting is definitely a bovine...'" (p. 24);
"...marshes alive with birds that looked very much like duck and snipe and flamingo..." (p. 74);
"...people, pigs and gaudy domesticated birds the size of turkeys..." (p. 76).

It is all too Earth-like and, of course, there will be an explanation. I once tried to explain why Kryptonians looked exactly like white North Americans (see here). It would not be enough for the god Rao to plant a human colony on a barely habitable part of Krypton. He would also have to intervene continually in order to preserve the human form despite the environmental enhancement of abilities.

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