terça-feira, 6 de julho de 2010

Perilous Planets - Brian W.Aldiss

Long before I began compiling this book, I could see what it had to contain. Its title and its contents leaped at me while I was working on the first anthology in this series, Space Opera, three years ago.

For the majority of readers new to science fiction, a landing on another planet - a planet,because unknown, even more perilous than Earth - must be their peak experience of the genre. If they don't get the true sf charge out of touchdown on Procyon v, they will never get any charge at all. The cutting edge of science fiction lies along the interface between the known and the unknown.

So what I wanted for my anthology was that seminal story in which our brave astronauts, or space-travellers as they used to be called, make the first-ever voyage through space, see the stars like jewels flung into the sack of night, and touch down on a totally unknown planet. There they jump out to test the atmosphere, find it even better than Earth's, and take a stroll amid the glorious scenery. Whereupon something awful appears and - according to which seminal story you read -attempts to eat them, warps their minds with obscene telepathic messages, or captures them and takes them into subterranean tunnels.

It was a fantastic story, one you remember for the rest of your life.
My trouble was, I had forgotten which story it was.
So this anthology does not contain that first-landing story you remember. It was just a folk-memory. All parts of the legend are, of course, embedded in H. G. Well's novel, The First Men on the Moon.

One never forgets the moment when Cavor and Beford see the sun rise, watch the plants grow, and sniff the air, to find it even better than Earth's.

What this anthology does contain are stories which, while being excellent in their own right, range along the whole spectrum of interest aroused by that feat which still remains imaginary: standing upon another planet. (The Moon is a satellite, not a planet.) That particular kind of thrill has been conjured in literature since time immemorial; during time memorial, sf is the name of the literature that does it now.

Actual unrestricted travel in space, if it ever comes, may alter the nature of science fiction, as reality wipes out folk memories. There must be other beings on other planets who dream similar tales.

Brian W. Aldiss - October 1976

'How Are They All on Deneb IV ?' - C. C. Shackleton

'. . . Because They're There'

Mouth of Hell - David I. Masson
Brightside Crossing - Alan E. Nourse
The Sack - William Morrison

Whatever Answers the Door . . .

The Monster - A. E. van Vogt
The Monsters - Robert Sheckley
Grenville's Planet - Michael Shaara
Beachhead - Clifford D. Simak

No Names to the Rivers

The Ark of James Carlyle - Cherry Wilder
On the River - Robert F. Young
Goddess in Granite - Robert F. Young
The Seekers - E. C. Tubb

Love and War

When the People Fell - Cordwainer Smith
The Titan - P. Schuyler Miller

A Universal Home Truth

Four in One - Damon Knight
The Age of Invention - Norman Spinrad
The Snowmen - Frederik Pohl
Schwartz Between the Galaxies - Robert Silverberg


Perilous Planets - Brian W. Aldiss [ Download ]