Friday, 12 May 2017
Old And Wise III
The first story (see here) had told us that its protagonists would live for another three thousand years and this story, a sequel, is set four hundred years later. Thus, neither of the main characters can die in it even though one of them is accidentally shot at.
The long-living married couple have developed cryptic speech and glances. In Pakistan, where population is still a problem, human immortality is a capital offence. There is a government reward for killing the immortal goats. I had thought that this story described an Indian or Pakistani child regarding the scene with apparent wisdom and compassion but was mistaken. That must be in another Aldiss story.
"'...'fairness' is not a built-in natural law. Man invented the concept of justice - it's one of his better ideas - but the rest of the universe, unfortunately, doesn't give a damn for it.'" (p. 40)
I think that that observation sums up Poul Anderson's works. Human beings - Hrolf Kraki, Gratillonius, Dominic Flandry - strugggle first to survive, then to build and defend a civilization with peace and justice, but entropy moves in the opposite direction.