Thursday, 14 March 2013
The Structure Of They Shall Have Stars
PRELUDE: Washington (set in 2013!)
CHAPTER ONE: New York
CHAPTER TWO: Jupiter V
CHAPTER THREE: New York
CHAPTER FOUR: Jupiter V
CHAPTER FIVE: New York
CHAPTER SIX: Jupiter V
CHAPTER SEVEN: New York
CHAPTER EIGHT: Jupiter V
CHAPTER NINE: New York
CHAPTER TEN: Jupiter V
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Jupiter V
CODA: Brookhaven National Laboratories (the pile-dump)
The short story, "At Death's End," featuring Colonel Paige Russell of the Army Space Corps and dealing with biology, is incorporated as the New York chapters.
The short story, "Bridge," featuring Robert Helmuth, foreman of the Bridge gang, and dealing with Jupiter, is incorporated as the Jupiter V chapters.
New material featuring Senator Bliss Wagoner and dealing with politics is presented in the Washington and Brookhaven sections. The characters meet in Chapter Ten which is narrated from Helmuth's point of view since it is set on Jupiter V.
The novel is a prequel to the Okie series, collected as Earthman, Come Home. The interstellar traders called "Okies" use anti-agathics, developed in New York, and antigravity, based on equations confirmed on Jupiter.
Blish establishes a future history background in a few pages. The Prelude is a conversation between Wagoner and Dr Corsi of the AAAS. They mention MacHinery of the FBI. Russell, waiting for an interview in Chapter One, sees celebrities including Wagoner, Corsi and MacHinery pass by. He himself mentions being on " '...Jupiter V, right in the shadow of the Bridge gang's shack...' " (Cities In Flight, London, 1981, p. 20) before we first encounter the Bridge, a classic sf setting, in Chapter Two. It is a pity that the Bridge makes such a brief appearance in just six short chapters, or one short story, but it serves its purpose and cannot long survive in the Jovian environment.