This is the seventh post in my newly resurrected series of vintage generation ship short fiction reviews. I have returned to the author and anthropologist Chad Oliver (1928-1993) whose “The Wind Blows Free” (1957) inspired me to start the series. All of the stories I’ll review in the series are available online and linked.
You are welcome to read and discuss along with me as I explore humanity’s visions of generational voyage. And thanks go out to all who have joined already. I also have compiled an extensive index of generation ship SF if you wish to track down my earlier reviews on the topic and any that you might want to read on your own.
As the last post was way back in January 2020, here’s a reminder of what I’ve covered so far:
- Chad Oliver’s “The Wind Blows Free” (1957)
- Clifford D. Simak’s “Spacebred Generations” (variant title: “Target Generation”) (1953)
- Judith Merril’s “Wish Upon A Star” (1958)
- John Brunner’s “Lungfish” (1957)
- J. G. Ballard’s “Thirteen to Centaurus” (1962)
- A. E. van Vogt’s “Centaurus II” (1947)
I’ve also reviewed five additional generation ship works (two novels and one short story) since I started the series that I didn’t include:
- E. C. Tubb’s The Space-Born (variant title: Star Ship) (1955)
- Judith Merril’s “Survival Ship” (1951)
- Judith Merril’s “The Lonely” (1963)
- Samuel R. Delany’s Ballard of Beta-2 (1965)
- Harry Harrison’s Captive Universe (1969)
Chad Oliver’s “Stardust” first appeared in the July 1952 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, ed. John W. Campbell, Jr. 3.5/5 (Good). You can read it online here.
In the 1974 paper “Two Horizons of Man” for the American Anthropological Association, Chad Oliver identified the “larger theoretical and social contexts” in which his two professions (SF and anthropology) were subsumed: “The problems of cultural contact and culture conflict, the discussions of cultural relativism, the idea of cultural evolution, the whole emphasis on looking at things from different perspectives, the questions about what it meant to be human–all of these were as characteristics if science fiction as they were of anthropology” (note). “Stardust” (1952) exemplifies this intersection of concerns. The new generation of explorers encounter the first generation, trapped for hundreds of years on sabotaged generation ship on their way to colonize Capella.Continue reading