Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Six stories that find the drama in utopian settings

At Tor.com James Davis Nicoll tagged six stories that find the drama in utopian settings, including:
Terrestrial humanity is entirely extinct in Arthur C. Clarke’s The Songs of Distant Earth. No doubt awareness of the Sun’s impending nova provoked all manner of drama on Earth. For the people of the exoplanet Thalassa, settled centuries before by a sub-light seedship, the nova is barely a historical footnote. Ocean-covered Thalassa offers its island-dwelling population of decent, sensible people satisfactory small lives punctuated only by small-scale, non-threatening interesting events.

This tranquil existence is disrupted by the sudden arrival of Magellan, the last starship from now-expunged Earth. Forced by mishap to pause briefly at the backwater world, the crew of Magellan appeal to Thalassa to allow them to orbit and rebuild their debris shield from Thalassa’s abundant water. “Briefly” is still enough time for the Thalassan woman Mirissa to notice just how attractive strangers can be (in a world that’s normally entirely lacking in strangers). As the ensuing romance and its repercussions unspool, the Magellan’s crew must decide whether to continue to their intended destination or to stay at Thalassa.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue