Sunday, 20 December 2015

Idyllic Planets?

Space explorers come to an extrasolar planet that is superficially idyllic but essentially problematic:

Methuselah's Children by Robert Heinlein (Future History);
A Case Of Conscience by James Blish (After Such Knowledge);
"Tiger Ride" by James Blish and Damon Knight;
The Peregrine by Poul Anderson (Psychotechnic History);
The Night Face by Poul Anderson (Technic History);
more than one Star Trek episode.

Obviously, these works differ considerably. Nevertheless, there is a discernible common theme. The two Anderson novels could even be adapted as Star Trek episodes although they would be considerably diminished in the process. As I wrote about the Blish/Knight collaboration (see above): 

Knight writes that the story asks, “What is a man?”  Like Star Trek, though not as tritely, it answers that men need the conflict of unsatisfied desire.

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