Saturday, April 02, 2005

All About Venus

posted by Tim Walters @ 8:32 PM

Aldiss anthology with scientific and pre-scientific speculations about Venus; excerpts from Stapledon, Burroughs, and Lewis; and stories by Anderson and Clarke. OK, but nothing special--you'd think there'd be more for Aldiss to play with, as he did so well with Space Opera and Galactic Empires, but apparently Venus just isn't as popular a setting as Mars.

An entry without parentheses! I knew I could do it.


At 4:38 AM, Blogger Todd T said...

I use parentheses a lot too (though I know I should stop). There are hundreds of zapper-and-BEM Venus stories, but now that you mention it, I can't think of any others that have something to say. Is Aldiss planning to work his way through the solar system? (Kind of a cool idea) Otherwise, I wonder why he proposed the concept in the first place.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger Tim Walters said...

"Big-eyed beans from Venus--oh my, oh my." --Captain Beefheart

I should have mentioned that the book dates from the late Sixties. I think he was inspired by then-recent discoveries putting paid to all the SF dreams of watery Venus.

If he went on to Mars, I never heard about it, but then I never heard of the Venus anthology until I saw it in the bookstore last month. Let's see... (google google)... nope, I'm only seeing a recent novel called White Mars, co-written with, of all people, Roger Penrose, the English mathematician with the goofball theory about consciousness being bound up with quantum processes in the brain (an idea which turned up in Robinson's Red/Blue/Green Mars--I wonder if there's a connection).

I wonder if one could scrape up enough stories for a Uranus anthology. I think even Neptune gets more respect.

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Todd T said...

Hmm, Venus in Furs: a novel about furriers fleeing PETA for a no-hassle life on another planet.

Or how about a future in which all sinners are exiled to The Venal Colony.

I agree, Uranus has not been, er, explored in depth. Not only Neptune, but I bet Titan tops it too. The eponymous novel is only one work of several, at least, that are set there.

Curious: what's goofball about the consciousness/quanta hypothesis? (I'm not defending it, as I do not knwo what it states; I'm just curious.)

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Tim Walters said...

It's been a long time since I read The Emperor's New Mind, but as I recall, after 600 or so pages about quantum theory, the actual argument was presented in 30 pages of handwaving to the effect that:

--Goedel's Theorem proves that consciousness can't be algorithmic...
--...and therefore must be a result of quantum indeterminacy...
--...located in the tubules of neurons.

I don't find the first two steps convincing at all, but it's the third that elevates the theory to goofball status. Which makes it perfect for SF, of course.

I hasten to add that Penrose is a fine physicist and mathematician (Penrose tiles are named after him). The long explanation of quantum theory was actually quite good. And it's not as if there are any really good theories of consciousness out there. But I'm betting against this one.


Post a Comment

<< Home