Thursday, 17 December 2015
We recognize the scenario from Star Trek and from other sf works, e.g., by James Blish. A large spaceship with a crew of hundreds or thousands enters a planetary system and goes into orbit around an inhabited or colonized planet. Crew members shuttle to the surface in ship's boats. Star Trek introduced the transporter (teleporter) in order to avoid scenes involving boats. Extrasolar planets are either colonized from Earth or inhabited by surprisingly humanoid natives. One Nomad "marries" (not legally) a very beautiful native woman with white skin and long silver hair.
Thankfully, at least, the Nomad and his new wife are not interfertile - although Star Trek does allow even that in the case of Vulcan. The Vulcans should have been a separated colony, not the result of independent evolution, just as the Time Lords should have been not aliens but future humanity.
Poul Anderson is able to write convincingly and to address significant issues despite such sf cliches, which he later transcended.