Sunday, 16 April 2017

Looking Ahead

Poul Anderson, "Memory" IN Anderson, Beyond The Beyond (London, 1973), pp. 7-43.

This is not a reading of the story, more like a scouting expedition. (After a dash to the gym followed by a large Easter Sunday extended family lunch, I am taking it easy.) In this edition, the story is thirty six and a half pages in length. On p. 7, directly under the story title, there is a sub-heading "Torrek." Near the bottom of p. 21, there is a second sub-heading, "Korul Wanen." A scan of the text plus a memory of a previous reading indicate that these headings are names, further that they are alternative names of a single character with two sets of memories - or something along those lines.

Let us contrast three kinds of science fiction narrative.

(i) In Star Trek, a spaceship from Earth visits innumerable extrasolar terrestroid planets, each inhabited by humanoid beings indistinguishable from those on Earth, indeed indistinguishable from white North Americans, even though these beings have supposedly evolved independently on that other planet.

(ii) Some prose sf stories have essentially the same scenario except that now the extrasolar human beings are more plausibly descended from colonists from Earth.

(iii) Later novels by Poul Anderson assume that extrasolar planets, even if inhabited, are unlikely to be terrestroid.

"Memory" is a type (ii). Like several such sf stories, it could easily be adapted as a Star Trek episode. Some time soon, we will get to grips with the story itself.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I can see evolution favoring "humanoid" races on many planets simply because that is PRACTICAL. But I don't expect most such races to particularly LOOK like human beings. And I do expect other races to be very different from looking "humanoid." Such as Anderson's Ythrians, Wodenites, and Ymirites.