View Full Version : "Evolution" by Stephen Baxter
August 14th, 2005, 10:04 PM
This title might sound like a textbook, but it's actually a science fiction novel. It spans the ages, from Listener, an intelligent Ornitholestes dinosaur in the Jurassic, through Purga, a Purgatorius (primate ancestor) living at the end of the Cretaceous. From there, it keeps going forward. It mostly focuses on human ancestors, with a few sidelines such as Listener. The book ends up 500 million years in the future. The final fate of humankind is not pretty. Usually, you see distant-future human descendants portrayed as big-brained, super-intelligent beings. Not this time.
This is science fiction which takes the long view. If you like that sort of thing, I strongly recommend it.
September 9th, 2005, 02:34 PM
Usually, you see distant-future human descendants portrayed as big-brained, super-intelligent beings. Not this time.
When has this ever happened? Most futuristic stories that I've ever seen either have the human race blasting itself back to the stone age (or doing it some other way) or they show humans in the future who are more advanced than we are but still very much human (like STAR TREK). I don't recall any stories that portray human descendants that are super intelligent. But, then again, maybe I need to expand my list of reading material.
And, what's wrong with depicting our descendants as super intelligent beings. There are plenty of stories that depict us ruining ourselves and the planet; why not present a positive future for a change? Humanity might seem screwed up right now, but that doesn't mean we can't improve.
Whew, where'd that rant come from?
September 11th, 2005, 09:44 PM
I never said there was anything wrong with stories portraying our descendants as super-intelligent beings. I read a good story in Analog magazine a few years ago (unfortunately don't recall title or author at the moment- haven't had time to dig through my old back issues) about a boy sick with incurable cancer who receives a visit from some humanoid aliens who cure him- then reveal that they are actually time travellers -human descendants from ~12 million years in the future. The boy is somehow important to their history.
Some other examples (going from print to TV for these) include an old OUTER LIMITS episode called "The Sixth Finger" where David McCallum portrays a man who agrees to let a scientist test his invention- a machine designed to accelerate the evolutionary process- on him. He becomes a big brained being with 6 fingers. In an old TIME TUNNEL episode, the 2 protaganists land in the year One Million AD, where they encounter- you guessed it- big-brained humans.
I love Star Trek, but we are talking about much farther in the future here. ST, along with most of the post-apocalyptic fiction you mentioned, is taking place in the near future, relatively speaking. Several centuries is nothing next to 5 million centuries.
vBulletin® v3.7.0, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.