Monday, 4 May 2015

At Tritos

Poul Anderson, The Boat of A Million Years (London, 1991).

The Survivors must invent some new terminology:

Star Three becomes "Tritos;"
its inhabited second planet is "Xenogaia;"
the beings who have traveled to Tritos are "the Alloi" (singular: Allos; adjective: "Allosan");
the star in Pegasus from which the Alloi came is "Pegasi;"
native Xenogaians are "Ithagene."

The Alloi have not colonized the Tritos system but are merely exploring it and will soon go elsewhere. Alloi and Ithagene are non-humanoid, as are a third race one of whose ships has signaled that it will travel to Tritos after spending a few years at "'...the closest rendezvous, 147 light-years yonder.'" (p. 573)

In Poul Anderson's The Peregrine (New York, 1979), Rendezvous is the name of "...a planet beyond the edge of the known..." (p. 1), used as a meeting place by the human interstellar traders called Nomads. In Boat, rendezvous's are stations orbiting certain stars, to which space explorers of different species report their discoveries. Each such station relays information to the others. Thus, "'...nodes of knowledge grow...'" (p. 574) (not AI "nodes," as in Anderson's Genesis). The Alloi have made a transmitter orbiting Tritos. Since, before the Survivors' departure, the Solar System had an orbiting receiver called the Web, humanity might, when it receives broadcasts from Tritos, join the interstellar community.

Unlike the Survivors, the Alloi and the approaching race do not boost continuously between stars, thus saving anti-matter and gaining hull size although losing some time dilation. They have not been detected from Sol because their few ships emit radiation only briefly at the beginning and end of a voyage. Each Allos lives for at least thirty thousand years. They left Pegasi fifteen thousand years ago and know of explorations that had been going on in different directions for one and a half million years.

One Allos speculates that impatient and hasty human beings might traverse and unite the galaxy in less than a million years. His reference to "'...this tiny segment of the galaxy that we have reached...'" (p. 576) remind us of similar phrases in Anderson's History of Technic Civilization although the characters in that series have FTL.

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