(urth) Heinlein's Universe and The Long Sun

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Mon Jan 27 06:57:13 PST 2020

On January 27, 2020 9:15:27 AM EST, Gerry Quinn <gerry at bindweed.com> wrote:
>On 26/01/2020 19:44, Gem Caccetta wrote:
>> I recently came across a three volume set of short stories and 
>> novellas called the /Science Fiction Hall of Fame/, edited by Ben
>> in 1975. One of the novellas titled /Universe/, by Robert Heinlein, 
>> (written in 1941) takes place on the “Ship”—a generation ship sent
>> long ago to inhabit another planet, but now drifting because none of 
>> the descendants remember the nature or purpose of the ship. What they
>> do remember has degenerated into religious superstition. There is a 
>> “Jordan’s Plan” for the ship. There is a powerful two-headed mutant, 
>> Joe-Jim, a highly intelligent leader of a mutant gang who has learned
>> of the Ship’s true nature. There is a young, curious man Hugh, 
>> captured by Joe-Jim, who is taken to the main control room and shown 
>> the stars. Hugh enlists others to take control of the ship and 
>> complete Jordan’s Plan….sound familiar?
>Certainly a few commonalities there - two headed mutants aren't exactly
>a dime a dozen!  But that said, there are a lot of generation ship
>with some similar features.  Wolfe's Long Sun is unusual for avoiding 
>the trope of complete forgetfulness. The Crew (and the Gods/Mainframe) 
>know what the deal is, though it looks like they are paralysed without 
>orders from Pas, or they don't know how to persuade the Cargo.  And the
>Cargo - or the educated ones - actually know they are on a generation 
>ship too, though they have put it to the back of their minds in favour 
>of matters related to day to day life (I think Wolfe suggested BotNS 
>itself has a similar theme).  Kind of like how everyone on this whorl 
>ignores global warming insofar as it means any change in lifestyle!
>- Gerry Quinn

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