Sunday, May 4, 2008

** Brian Aldiss - "Neanderthal Planet" (short story, science fiction)

A frame story - story in a story.

Main outer story is interesting: a future society with many kinds of robots with specialized functions, some smarter than others. They are the real rulers of earth - keep humans in a zoo! A man escapes, is quickly caught.

For a while, robots have been in a dilemma - they cannot quite psychologically leave their human legacy behind, severely limiting their effectiveness in spite of the advanced capabilities. This escaped man will convince them the only way they can truly develop & reach their potential is by completely leaving their origins behind - by leaving earth! So we get humans back in charge of earth. It's implied that robots will also find their place wherever they've gone to in multi-dimensional space!

My views on contained story are likely to be biased - it insists that the brain of "whites" differs in a fundamental way from people of other skin colors!

I found this contained story not only mundane, but thematically flawed. We are told whites have a part of their brain inherited from Neanderthals; Neanderthals prefer intuition to reasoning; hence, given half a chance, whites will resort to intuition & give up their reasoning faculties! OK - it's stated in a more complex way - but that's the gist.

Title refers to earth - whites inherit Neanderthal traits, robots inherit human traits. By implication, the only humans that count are whites. At the end of outer story, robots must leave "Neanderthal Planet" to develop their full potential.

Fact sheet.

First published: ...
Rating: B

Note: Why is this post so short?