Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Parallel Evolution On Venus?

Thesis: in Golden Age sf, space explorers uncritically accepted the existence of Earth-like organisms, including even beautiful princesses, on other planets;

Antithesis: in more recent, more realistic sf, they do not find any such organisms;

Synthesis: in SM Stirling's The Sky People (New York, 2006), they do find such organisms and are extremely puzzled by them.

Even with panspermia or microbes on meteors:

"'...evolution's a chaotic process; you get general similarities, but not identities...'" (p. 25)

So what is the explanation? Maybe separate evolution can reproduce exact details or:

"'...maybe the God-did-it crowd is right -'
"'Them!'" (p. 26)

At this early stage of the novel, certain principles are clear:

the characters need to do more research;
"'...evidence first, theory second...'" (ibid.);
I expect the author to make some explanation to the reader even if the characters remain in the dark;
an author can base a fiction on any premise - CS Lewis presents divinely created human beings on Venus;
however, Stirling writes in the hard sf tradition of Poul Anderson, not in the theological sf tradition of CS Lewis.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I know, from having read THE SKY PEOPLE, why so many forms of life, including extinct forms, on Venus are identical to what we find on Earth. However, it would not be fair to tell you! Better to let Stirling tell you as you keep on reading the book! (Smiles)