Thursday, 28 May 2015
The Venture League
(The present Queen of England, occasionally mentioned on this blog, will visit her Duchy of Lancaster tomorrow after a week of exhaustive security preparations. This means that, if we look out at the right time, we will see the Royal Train passing behind our house early in the morning.)
In the previous post, does the autumnal sunlight pervading a summer day on Harbor presage that the Envoy crew will be unable to reverse the inexorable decline of interstellar travel? As it turns out, they do reverse it. Although Anderson wrote two short dystopias, all of his longer works end optimistically. The Night Face ends somberly - but is not very long.
Captain Nansen's Venture League encounters political opposition already discussed here. Reverting for a moment to what Nansen found on Earth before traveling to Harbor:
Kith Town is empty except for robot caretakers;
the newest homes were last occupied centuries ago;
few visit physically because everyone on Earth can access virtuals;
but there is a visitors' center with overnight accommodation;
ships come rarely and stay briefly;
crews stay in a hostel or aboard;
constellations and the North Star have changed;
the Town is surrounded by ruins because -
"From time to time, a city had engulfed the starfarers' dwelling place." (p. 462)
It was the realization that more than one city had enclosed Kith Town that brought home to me the passage of time in this future history. With nothing to be done on Earth, Nansen and his crew travel to Harbor to found their Venture League there. What happens next?