Friday, 17 June 2016

ZERO: First Impressions

Star Trek, Blake's Seven and other popular sf series have familiarized us with combat spaceships and their crews. JS Collyer's Zero, Volume I of a series, clearly belongs to this sub-genre. Collyer's space-faring civilization seems to be interplanetary, not as yet interstellar. There is an armed force called simply "the Service," as in James Blish's "Beep"/The Quincunx Of Time.

An author of this kind of futuristic sf needs to describe a future society as if from experience. Thus, Poul Anderson gives us the impression that he is a veteran of faster than light interstellar combat. Robert Heinlein opened a novel with the line:

"If a man walks in dressed like a hick and acting as if he owned the place, he's a spaceman."
-Robert Heinlein, Double Star (New York, 1957), p. 5.

Collyer matches Anderson and Heinlein when, describing two members of the Zero crew, she writes:

"They walked with the wide gait of men used to space decks..."
-JS Collyer, Zero (Nottingham, 2014), p. 16.

Of course they did. We know how spacemen walk, don't we? At least for a moment we feel that we do. I have read only a few pages but must break off to go and watch Superman IV. Obviously, there will be more on Zero.

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