Sunday, 27 November 2016

Last Men

HG Wells' Time Traveler sees the end of life on Earth and returns to the nineteenth century.

Olaf Stapledon's Last Men on Neptune will be killed when the sun expands.

In Poul Anderson's Tau Zero, a human spaceship crew survives into the next universe.

In Anderson's "Flight To Forever," a single time traveler survives the end of the universe and travels around the circle of time back to his start point.

Wells and Stapledon are classic sf writers. Anderson joins their ranks with not one but two works of greater scope.

4 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Not only were Anderson's works of greater scope than those of such pioneers as H.G. Wells and Olaf Stapledon, they were also more scientifically accurate. Wells, for example, grossly underestimated (thru no fault of his own) the habitability of the Earth--which is expected to last somewhere between one and two billion years before an expanding Sun makes it uninhabitable.

    Sean

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  2. Kaor, Paul!

    This is only tangentially on topic, but from time to time in Stirling's Nantucket books I see mention of how Ian and Doreen Arnstein like to play chess. The past few weeks I've been playing (and losing to) my old Radio Shack Chess Champion 2150L computer. I'm surprised there was no mention of any surviving chess computers on the island of Nantucket after the Event. There must have been a fair number of them on our real world Nantucket in 1998!

    And we know Poul Anderson also seems to have enjoyed chess, from the frequent mention of the game in his works. In some of them chess forms a major part of the story, such as in "The Immortal Game" and A CIRCUS OF HELLS. Even Merseians liked the game, as we know from both CIRCUS and ENSIGN FLANDRY.

    Sean

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    Replies
    1. Sean,
      The Empire exports chess and tea to Merseia.
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Indeed! These would be examples of Terran cultural influences! And there were other examples of the Empire influencing a hostile Merseia: such as the Roidhunate agreeing to adopt the Terran laws and customs of war and diplomacy.

      Whether Merseia liked it or not, the Empire had become, to a certain degree, the cultural CENTER of the Technic "civilization cluster" in that part of the galaxy.

      Sean

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