Monday, 18 May 2015

Details In Starfarers

Poul Anderson, Starfarers (New York, 1999).

(i) As suggested by their biochemist, Selim ibn Ali Zeyd, the Envoy crew name an inhabited planet "Tahir" (p. 214), although I am not quite sure why.

(ii) "...albedo..." (p. 208) is one of those words that I read with some vague understanding of its meaning. It made sense to google.

(iii) Other technical terms used are:

"...circadian...," (p. 216);
 "'...ionic and osmotic...'" (p. 218);
 "'...biomes...'" (p. 219);
"...cyromagnetic...'" and "'...quantum resonances...'" (p. 221);
"'...Hamiltonian, Riemannian...'"...Navier-Stokes...'" (p. 222).

(iv) Foreign language phrases used are:

"'Apa Isten.'" (p. 207) (I can't find it);
"'Dios todopoderoso...'" (p. 209) (I still don't know what it means).

(v) "...darklingly..." (p. 215). I have commented before on the Wellsian adjective, "darkling." Here is the adverb.

(vi) On Tahir, the visiting Terrestrials are not bothered by any "...journalists, curiosity seekers, salespeople, cranks, politicians." (p. 216) Dayan thinks that this suggests a very controlled society but Cleland replies that it may merely be very alien. A society that is uniformly polite and considerate without coercion? Alien indeed.

(vii) I think we are told that, thanks to time dilation, Kenri has been alive for eight hundred years but I would have to reread Chapter 21 to confirm this. He sees murals of historical events that have mostly happened within his lifetime. Imagine that.

(viii) "...from Canda..." (p. 202) is not just an acknowledgment of where someone comes from but part of his name. I will have more to say about this character.

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