Sunday, 14 September 2014


Copied from Poul Anderson Appreciation, 22 May 2014.

"'They think [Dido] started out to be a Venus type, but a giant asteroid collided with it. Shock waves blew most of the atmosphere off, leavin' the rest thin enough that chemical evolution could go on, not too unlike the Terran - photosynthesis and so forth, though the amino acids that developed happened to be mainly dextro- 'stead of levorotatory. Same collision must've produced the extreme axial tilt, and maybe the high rotation. 'Cause of those factors, the oceans aren't as inert as you might 'spect on a moonless world, and storms are fierce. Lot of tectonic activity: no s'prise is it? That's believed to be the reason we don't find traces of past ice ages, but do find eras of abnormal heat and drought.'"
-Poul Anderson, Young Flandry (New York, 2010), p. 448.

In this passage, Poul Anderson gives us a flavor of how an Aenean speaks Anglic and also outlines yet another unusual planet, although with features that are becoming familiar:

an early collision;
an atmosphere (mostly) blown off;
an extreme axial tilt;
high rotation (eight hour days!);
fierce storms;
unusual natives.

What does Anderson mean by "...Venus type..." here? The Rebel Worlds was published in 1969, one year before Russian Venera probe 7 first transmitted data from the Venerian surface but two years after Venera 4 had measured the Venerian atmosphere. We do not see the Venus of the Technic History but are told that it has been colonized and partially terraformed. I had assumed that it was a jungle type Venus, similar to the way Dido is described.

Flandry lands in a jungle of brown, red, purple, gold, but not green, trees, vines, multi-shaped foliage and spongy, springy ground cover. To film a Flandry novel, it would be necessary to reproduce the planetary environment as described in Anderson's text, not merely to shoot such scenes in a South American or African jungle.

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