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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (whorl) STL spoilers
Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 20:33:34 

Al and Rostrum,

Thanks for the notes. (I greatly enjoyed A FIRE UPON THE DEEP and look
forward to reading A DEEPNESS IN THE SKY.)

Re: seedships, another anonymous informant mentions Williamson's MANSEED.
Maybe I should take a look at it--but as I say, the very concept of a
seedship strikes me as so flawed . . . even the notion of a robotic
terraforming flotilla (which is a near cousin) is based upon the premise
that robots are disposable slaves!  "Thanks for the planet, Tinman--now go
rust someplace else, you are staining the lawn."  Has there been a story or
novel where the humans arrive and have to make a deal with the robotic
"natives" as to how much of the planet can be granted to the human
representatives of the civilization that sent the robots out to begin with?

"Yeah, for a handful of vacuum tubes I let the squishies squat on the
Manhattan Project Landfill!"



Re: longevity, immortality strategies. Charles Sheffield's BETWEEN THE
STROKES OF MIDNIGHT did a pretty good job of that--not only setting up a
non-sleeper slowship system (ships limited to 0.1 c), but also showing a
colony world, showing Earth, hinting at other colony worlds, and showing
how the interstellar government (such as it was) would develop. (No FTL
communications, no FTL of any kind; Earth badly messed up by nuclear war,
but ultimately a nature preserve world.)

The longevity technique was two degrees of "slowness," one slow and the
other hibernation.  In slow mode people still walk around the ship, but in
slowed perception, motion, etc.  Aided by robots who move so fast by
comparison that they are invisible servants.  (This has been done before,
but I don't think in as detailed a fashion.)

The interstellar government amounts to an open caste of illuminati.  The
colony worlds have games ala the Olympics/games of Null-A, the top
performers of which are invited to join the offworld brotherhood at the
lowest level, etc.

Castes come up with great frequency in generation starship stories. Usually
they evolve over the course of the voyage as people forget "the
Mission"--this is the case in ORPHANS OF THE SKY and THE STAR SEEKERS--but
sometimes the castes are planned as part of the program, as in CAPTIVE
UNIVERSE (and TBOTLS) where it is portrayed as a stabilizing institution to
keep the cargo docile and in the dark.

Another scenario I enjoy is that in Spinrad's A WORLD BETWEEN. No FTL, an
interstellar "internet" sort of deal (looong before A FIRE UPON THE DEEP,
too!), an interstellar information-exchange economy (the world Pacifica
exports movies, a "Hollywood" of space), and two factions from Earth (the
victors and the vanquished) come out in ships to try and win hearts and
minds as the fight spreads beyond the homeworld.  The ships are NAFAL, no
specifics that I recall.


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