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Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 09:01:56 -0800
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: Re: (urth) Space Vampires from the Green Planet!

Rostrum wrote:
>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

Right.  We (well, me and someone else around here) were more distracted
when hard sf guy Vernor Vinge had human kids crash on a random planet that
just happened to have edible grains and protein . . . as a case of random
chance, like a voyage to an uncharted planet, this seemed a bit far off the
thinking at the time A FIRE UPON THE DEEP was written (the 90s).  And it
could have been fixed, it seemed, with a single sentence.

Back to Typhon.  I don't think there is any sense of the Whorl being an
exploration vessel: it is a colonization ship.  It is not looking for a
home, stopping at every oasis in the desert of space, it is going straight
to the place, non-stop.  The target star system is, therefore, presumed to
be known in advance.  Of all the uncolonized-yet-colonizable planets in the
galaxy, surely a ruler will select a planet that has compatible DNA
(especially if the colonization effort is one ship).  This is part of the
"habitability" package, after all, and has been since the 1960s: another
factor, just as gravity, sunlight, oxy/nitrogen atmosphere, atmospheric
pressure, water, length of local day, etc., but one that comes near the end
of the stream.

As for Typhon loading an ark to repopulate Urth. No.  This function is
being carried out, either by design or by accident, by the Ship Tzadkiel.
From the play by Talos; from the plan for the sailors in the Hall of
Justice (iirc it was: if the sailors win, they can stop the New Sun, if
they lose they can populate Ushas); from the way that guards bring news of
ships dropping off people at the time of the deluge (echoing the play): it
seems like Tzadkiel drops off Adam&Eve packets onto Urth in lean times,
just as Tzadkiel seems to snatch people up in other times (all that trade
in slaves).


booklets on Gene Wolfe, John Crowley
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