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Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 11:16:41 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Straight 
Subject: (urth) Space Vampires from the Green Planet!

Regarding the similarity of Urth and Blue/Green lifeforms and their
ability to eat each other, this is an old standard convention in science
fiction.  Let's remember that the Short Sun series are, among many other
things, Wolfe's take on the pulp planetary exploration novels complete
with Vampires from Outer Space!  In these novels, the fauna from other
planets are just like ours, with extra limbs or two heads or blue
fur.  See also Star Trek.

Many otherwise "hard" science-fiction novels gloss over having Earth-like
plants and animals on other planets.  Some, like Larry Niven come up with
some kind of justification for it (planets all seeded by earlier space
empire), others just ignore the question.  In general, if the characters
don't bring up the unlikelihood of other planets having such similar
plants and animals, you're just supposed to ignore it and get on with the

Given these conventions, I think Wolfe is using the extra limbs to denote
alien-ness, while the similarity of life allows for low-tech colonists and
monsters that suck their blood.  (Note also that the colonists had to
bring their own crops.  They aren't able to subsist only on the native
Bluvian crops.)



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