Over the last two days I read the version in the collection Best of Jack Vance. By opening portals to universes similar to our own cognates, he calls them he has ushered in a post-scarcity society: if petroleum, or lumber, or any other natural resource is required, simply travel to a universe which is just like ours, but in which humans never developed on Earth, and extract all the material you need. Social problems resulting from population pressure are solved: every family, every individual, if they so choose, can have a cognate Earth of their very own to live on. Because the machine can also open portals across time, scientific and historical puzzles are resolved: a paleontologist can travel to the Cretaceous of a universe almost identical to ours to observe dinosaurs first hand, a classicist travel to Ancient Rome, and the like.
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They enjoy popularity among fans of Vance, but not universal support as examples of his first-rate material. It is a blend of mystery and SF, with an ecological theme and easily identifiable, but unorthodox, villain. Exploitation of natural resources is, to my understanding, the most common method by which a population pulls itself out of poverty.
He is not part of some soulless corporation, however, but an independent operator—clearly, Vance ties the abuse of nature to something intrinsic within certain individuals, and not necessarily a product of business.
He is part of a commercial business exploiting the resources of a primitive, aquatic planet, in a area called The Shallows. Whatever marine life his company Bio-Minerals draws out of The Shallows is processed into chemical compounds: rhodium trichloride, tantalum sulfide and so on.
He still led Raight in the Pinchbottle Sweepstakes. Raight should be on the raft for the shift change, but Fletcher discovers that he is nowhere to be found. After searching the vessel and questioning the crew, Fletcher takes a small launch vessel out to a barge where the harvest is evidently stored. Along the way, we learn that there are aquatic animals in The Shallows, but they are regarded as food: Mahlberg came into the mess hall. I want to order some more teeth for the bucket.
Mahlberg laughed at the joke. Or a dekabrach. There seemed nothing to say. Fletcher learns to respect the native fauna quickly, when a long tendril, disguised as a deck rope, wraps his ankle and tries to drag him overboard. The dekabrach are not only intelligent, he finds, but actively fighting someone who poses a new threat to them. This leads to an investigation of both the dekabrach and a enterprising ship captain named Ted Chrystal, who had been a Bio-Materials scientist.
When he takes an exploratory journey to the sea floor in a man-sized submersible, Fletcher discovers that the dekabrach inhabit an entire colony, hitherto unseen by mankind.
Fletcher and the current ship scientist, a methodical older man named Damon, conclude that they could capture a dekabrach and attempt to establish communications with it. They do so by trapping one of the creatures in a tank and using a projector system to communicate visually. It is vaguely described, but given the discoveries of time about whales and dolphins communicating with each other, does not seem wildly implausible.
Less impressive is Ted Chrystal, who despite his talents as a scientist, seems to be a reckless businessman and particularly terrible at covering his tracks. Overall, this is an inventive crime story with a believable working-class hero. I believe it was commissioned for this anthology, which also contains novellas my Larry Niven and John Brunner.
Ivan Seresin cover for Hawthorn Books. Through the manipulation of gateways into parallel universes, the population has been gifted with private planets and even histories. This was accomplished by a benevolent genius named Alan Robertson, whose Memoirs and Reflections is excerpted at the beginning of each chapter.
He lives on a private world, inhabited by only his family. His three daughters go to school via wormhole to a more civilized place, but home is where he and his wife Elizabeth make their life. Alone with Gilbert and their cups of coffee, Elizabeth makes an odd reflective comment: Elizabeth sipped her coffee and mused a moment, following some vagrant train of thought. I always felt strange—different from the other girls.
Everyone for a fact is different. I remember a hundred little signals. And yet I was such an ordinary little girl. The Sounding Sea was thirty miles south; directly behind the house stood the first trees of the Robber Woods. So unlike Elizabeth, Gilbert has little concern or attachment with the past. This is odd, as he happens to be the adopted grandson of Alan Robertson, after his own parents had been murdered by Apaches, in the s.
Gilbert now works for Alan by bulldozing the abandoned tract houses and service stations of the Old Earth Cupertino, California, specifically. The wreckage goes off-planet somewhere, leaving behind an arboretum of birches, gingko, Scotch pine, and so on.
Isolation is progress. At the end of his workday, Gilbert finds himself isolated in a different way: the gateways to his home planet have been sealed from the other side. But plausible answers seem a scarce as people on the new Old Earth: He trudged through the haunted Cupertino forest, preoccupied my the strange and inconvenient event which had befallen him. What had happened to the passway?
Duray came out upon Stevens Creek Road. Gilbert consults Alan, who despite being the master of all wormholes, has little control over the mischief of his son.
Neither Gilbert nor Alan approve of this decadent behavior, but Bob seems possessed with having them join the party. The development of the ahem free Internet has granted so many of us with a seemingly limitless choice in information sources and social connections.
The philosophy of the pioneers tends toward openness and liberalism; that is why our search engines and social networks are available to us without cost. But when something is given to us for free, we become the resource. We upload our preferences, beliefs and relationships to the system like fish flocking to bait. Similarly, for the use of his own planet, Duray learns that his relationship with his wife and children has become the property of a group of elites—the so-called Rumfuddlers.
Has all of this access to information—and each other—led to a more enlightened, humanist understanding of ourselves? Why do the Rumfuddlers entrap others into their games? It has such a lonesome sound, coming from you. What good are two Gilberts? I like my Gilberts. The embodiment the conundrums that arrive with a post-scarcity reality is impressive. Mostly known for his series of novels, he proves in this collection to be a significant author of short fiction.
JACK VANCE RUMFUDDLE PDF
They enjoy popularity among fans of Vance, but not universal support as examples of his first-rate material. It is a blend of mystery and SF, with an ecological theme and easily identifiable, but unorthodox, villain. Exploitation of natural resources is, to my understanding, the most common method by which a population pulls itself out of poverty. He is not part of some soulless corporation, however, but an independent operator—clearly, Vance ties the abuse of nature to something intrinsic within certain individuals, and not necessarily a product of business. He is part of a commercial business exploiting the resources of a primitive, aquatic planet, in a area called The Shallows. Whatever marine life his company Bio-Minerals draws out of The Shallows is processed into chemical compounds: rhodium trichloride, tantalum sulfide and so on.
Fenrijin By opening portals to universes similar to our own cognates, he calls them he has ushered in a post-scarcity society: Slight violations or mistakes might be interpreted as a grave insult or offense and can lead to bodily harm or even death. This is really how SF predicts the future—by taking a good look at the present, and at human nature. Actually, if I understand correctly, travel to past is always to a parallel earth rather than ours. I remember a hundred little signals.