Saturday, 13 September 2014
Poul Anderson imagines yet another unexpected hazard in a strange planetary system. As a gas giant of ten Jovian masses falls toward its sun, Pele, planetary convulsions spew iron into the upper atmosphere where Pelean ultraviolet splits molecules into ionized atoms. Next, the chaotically interacting Pelean and planetary magnetic fields form vortices that pull ferromagnetic atoms into charged pellets which, accelerated to escape velocity, are thrown like shotgun fire into space where they riddle an exploratory kzinti spaceship.
Anderson understands three kinds of psychology:
human beings who know the kzinti are unwilling to attempt a rescue;
a human being of good will who does not know the enemy does attempt a rescue;
a kzin can only attempt to kill his monkey rescuers...