Friday, 27 June 2014
Adapted Men II
In "Starfog," the last story of Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization, descendants of the Aenean rebels who fled from known space at the end of The Rebel Worlds, have spent so many generations ingesting, and becoming dependent on, heavy metals and becoming tolerant of ionizing radiation that they can no longer interbreed with standard humanity; they are no longer human.
In "Watershed," the last story of James Blish's pantropy series, Earth has changed so much that it will now be colonized by Adapted Men while standard humanity must adapt to the new social role of a racial minority - a historical watershed for the sometimes despised Adapted Men.
These different scenarios have in common the understanding that, over long periods of time, everything changes, from planetary environments to DNA. And there is no unchanging human nature.