enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: Edward E. Smith, Subspace Explorers (#7)

I read this book about 15-Dec-2022. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1965. This note was last modified Saturday, 17-Dec-2022 14:58:24 PST.

This is book 1 of the "Subspace" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


Mostly a quick reread, but still.

Chapter 13, "The Outplanets", starts with a long discussion about population and food supplies. He says that by the 22nd century population was approaching 7 billion as a limit, though people were fed nearly entirely from syntetics (actual meat and milk were for millionaires only). In fact we've passed 7 billion just recently, early in the 21st century. But famine is local or regional, and not endemic, in our world. It's called the "green revolution".

The Club of Rome scare-mongering, and the work leading up to it, had a big influence on science fiction—but their Limits to Growth report came out in 1972, so we can't really blame anything in this book on them. It's more like that report was an exemplar of a chunk of zeitgeist (Smith died in 1965, and the Canaveral Press hardcover of this was published in that year.)

Smith mentions choosing to restrict fertility, but doesn't mention the demographic transition. That idea goes back to 1929, so it could have influenced this book, but it didn't grab attention in popular culture really until the 21st century.

Unlike in Heinlein, unusual sexuality seems to scare Smith characters. Project Engineer Byrd, in this book; and of course at the end she settles down into a nice tight monogamous marriage and everybody is happy. At least she's happy too, at least by authorial fiat.

It's a psionics book. It was going around at the time. But, to be fair, only about 5 years after this I did a science fair project on PSI, replicating some of the Rhine Institute tests using their Zener deck. Huh, hadn't realized Zener died the year before this book was published. (I didn't find anybody with unusual powers.)

The enlightened executives running Planetary firms sure do have a hate-on for communism. But it's very much Soviet communism, maybe a bit of Chinese, nothing about actual left-wing politics.

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David Dyer-Bennet