Saturday, 30 September 2017

GENESIS: Environments III

In Poul Anderson, Genesis (New York, 2001), Part One, VII, the reigning intelligence on an extra-solar planet incorporates the Christian Brannock upload, which no longer wants to function as a distinct entity, whereas, in Part Two, I, in another planetary system, the primary aspect of the local node's primary consciousness synthesizes a lesser manifestation of itself which it then releases into separate existence as a second entity and a small facet of that second entity comes from Brannock.

The omniscient narrator, who usually remains in the background unnoticed, instead directly addresses the reader by saying, e.g.:

"Let us make our myth concerning the mission to Earth." (p. 103)

It is a "myth":

that the primary aspect and its manifestations were identified by names - Alpha and Wayfarer;
that they conversed before Wayfarer became a distinct entity;
indeed, that they were already distinguishable individuals capable of any conversation at that stage.

The system is that of an M2 dwarf star about fifty parsecs from Sol. Long ago, an artificial intelligence stopped there to study life on one of the planets. Now the star is orbited not only by planets but also by "...various titanic structures..." (p. 105), resembling gossamer or spiderwebs. The structures are mostly force fields which:

gather and focus energy for Alpha;
study space and the atom;
transmit and receive interstellar messages;
contain Alpha and Wayfarer although not at any specific location - just as consciousness is not located at any Cartesian point in an organic brain?

Alpha is the apex of the structural complexity.

Wayfarer departs in a spaceship containing:

cryomagnetics supporting antimatter;
a matrix with backup for the Wayfarer programs and a database;
sensors, effectors and bodies into which Wayfarer can download an essence of himself;
equipment, instruments and power systems;
a guitar for Brannock.

GENESIS: Environments II

See GENESIS: Environments.

The Christian Brannock upload visits the reigning intelligence of this planetary system. The island-dwelling intelligence can be described on three levels.

What A Human Being Would Perceive
Lightnings and rainbows around a huge, many-faceted jewel;
low domes and high pylons;
the sound of invisible energies.

What Brannock Perceives
We are told only that:
his sensors detect more than human sense organs would;
he notices changes since his last visit, unsurprising because the reigning intelligence is always changing itself, often on the basis of advice from intelligences in other systems.

Intangible And Incomprehensible Even To Brannock
Force fields;
quantum computations;
"...actions far down in the foundations of reality." (p. 87)

How far down? Can the nodes go all the way down? One view in the philosophy of science is that scientific theories can approach but never reach ultimate reality whereas another view is that a Theory of Everything would:

be formulable in a single equation that could be printed on T-shirts;
describe the most fundamental properties of the most fundamental entities, whatever those are;
unify the forces of nature;
explain the already formulated laws of physics and chemistry.

Can the nodes act upon the most fundamental entities?

GENESIS: Environments

Poul Anderson, Genesis (New York, 2001), Part One, VII.

A planet is so far from Earth that Sol is not visible in its night sky;

the day sky is green with red-tinged clouds;

the atmosphere is humanly unbreathable;

the planet's sun is small and dazzling;

low hills are covered with primitive life - purple, ruddy and gold mats, stalks, fluttering membranes and spongy turrets;

Intelligence Prime has studied this life and transmitted information to other intelligences across the known galaxy for seven hundred years;

the furthest intelligence have not yet received the transmissions.

See also:

The Christian Brannock Uploads
Genesis, Part One, Chapter VII
Van Rijn And Brannock
The Christian Brannock Uploads II

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Environmental Stewardship

By "Cosmic Environments," I meant environments elsewhere in the cosmos. However, every environment is part of the cosmos. Earth is not only irradiated by the nearest star, Sol, but also composed of elements generated by stellar fusion throughout the universe.

SM Stirling's Emberversers express a common attitude to their environment but in different ways:

marking out what is rightly the domain of the Lady Flidais;
National Parks;
rights under Forest Law;
the biodiversity of riparian wetlands and watershed maintenance;
God's command to the sons of Adam to be wise stewards;
what White Buffalo Woman says we can take...

Difference without division. Unity without uniformity.

Chee Lan

Blog correspondent, Michael Silverling, scanned this interior art picture of Chee Lan from the Analog magazine serialization of Poul Anderson's Satan's World. The art is by Kelly Freas.

This pictured follows one of Adzel.

Since Chee Lan, like Adzel, is operating in an alien environment, this post will first be published on the Poul Anderson's Cosmic Environments blog and will later be copied to Poul Anderson Appreciation.


Blog correspondent, Michael Silverling, scanned this interior art picture of Adzel from the Analog magazine serialization of Poul Anderson's Satan's World. The art is by Kelly Freas.

Adzel is carrying someone: David Falkayn?

Michael thought that I might find the art of interest and I thought that blog readers might.

Since Adzel is running through an alien environment, this post will be published on the Poul Anderson's Cosmic Environments blog and will later be copied to Poul Anderson Appreciation.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

By The Lyubisha River

On Dennitza, the Kazan is a large astrobleme. During glaciation, a colter of ice pierced the Kazan ringwall, then the melt-begotten Lyubisha River formed a canyon. Flandry watches the broad, brown river which is:

"...quiet except where it chuckled around a boulder or a sandbar near its banks."
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606 AT p. 524.

(In Anderson's Time Patrol series, time is compared to a river with changeable features like sandbars that can divert its course.)

"...ocherous palisades..." are "...maned with forest." (ibid.) Leaves are bluish-green or plum-coloured.

"...trees...grew taller than the taiga granted." (ibid.)

My points are, first, that Anderson shows us an alien landscape where, e.g., we must not assume that leaves are Terretrial green and, secondly, that his vocabulary is rich even when describing features that might be common to Earth and Dennitza.

A Dennitzan Forest

On Dennitza, Dominic Flandry and Kossara Vymezal land in a forest. Poul Anderson must show that this forest is not interchangeable with a Terrestrial equivalent. There is:

mahovina turf;
woodland "duff," the two relevant meanings of "duff" being plant litter and detritus;
the local equivalent of evergreens - low, gnarly trees, their branches plumed blue-black;
shrubbery but no real underbrush;
open sod.

Anderson sometimes describes a local equivalent of grass, e.g., on Aeneas, Avalon, Talwin and here.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

"The Faun": Opening Paragraph

Copied from here:

Comparing future histories has led us back to (what I call) Poul Anderson's Directorate History, which is just four stories.

"The Faun" was published in Boy's Life and thus is one of Anderson's juvenile works (see also here). The title and the opening sentence:

"A wyvern flew up in a thunder of splendid wings."
-Poul Anderson, "The Faun" IN Anderson, The Queen Of Air And Darkness and other stories (London, 1977), pp. 86-90 AT p. 86 -

- suggest a fantasy but the following sentences clarify that the story is set on a colonized extra-solar planet.

"A python tree coiled its branches." (ibid.)

A tree so called because its branches move.

"A chiming rang among the tiny red blossoms that covered the ground." (ibid.)

As often before, Anderson tells us what a terrestroid planet has instead of grass.

"Alien in the forest, a grove of pines stirred only to a breeze." (ibid.)

So this planet has been colonized by human beings who have brought some of their own ecology with them. And that concludes the opening paragraph.