Thursday, 19 May 2016
This story concentrates mainly on the discovery that these winged beings are indeed intelligent. The establishment of linguistic communication and mutual comprehension are referred to only briefly at the end. By the time of the following installment, "The Problem of Pain," Ythrians attend a human University and employ human beings to help them explore a planet.
Obviously, it is harder to describe establishment of communication and comprehension. In one installment of Anderson's Psychotechnic History that I have not yet read, human beings colonize an extrasolar planet without yet realizing that one of its species is intelligent.
During a First Contact story, is it legitimate to switch to describing events from the point of view of one of the aliens? Glancing ahead, I get the impression that this happens in Gregory Benford's and Larry Niven's Bowl Of Heaven. Should the authors not stay with the more difficult task of describing how the human beings cope with and respond to the mysterious others? (This is a question, not a rhetorical question!)
For Poul and Karen Anderson's Ysans in the fourth century, a trans-Atlantic crossing was their nearest approach to an interplanetary journey. Maeloch finds an account of the new world plausible precisely because it describes an as yet uncivilized and undeveloped territory without any unicorns or Elven palaces.