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Authors: Robert Hoskins (Ed.)

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Infinity One

BOOK: Infinity One
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a magazine

of speculative fiction

in book form

edited by



Copyright © 1970. Lancer Books, Inc.

The Star,
Copyright © 1955 by Royal

Publications, Inc. Reprinted by permission of

the author and his agents. Scott

Meredith Literary Agency. 'Inc.

Much of the material In
The Fun In Future Fun

appeared originally In
Lithopinton Six,

Copyright © 1967 by Local One. Amalgamated

Lithographers of America. Reprinted by

permission of the author.

All rights reserved Printed In the U.8.A.


NEW YORK, N.Y. 10036

INTRODUCTION: The Fun In Future Fun
Isaac Asimov

Fun is where you find it and it is always to be found in feasting and laughing and loving and roughhousing and gambling and hiking and noise-making and yelling and moving chessmen and chasing rubber balls and sleeping in the sun and dancing and swimming and watching entertainers and risking one’s neck for foolish reasons. There are even some fortunates who find their fun in their work—as does your humble servant.

Man was a tropical animal originally, confined to such areas as central Africa and to Indonesia (where the great apes of today are still confined); but then he discovered fire and all the realm of winter was open to him. Not only did the colder regions offer new lands, new foods and new dangers, but (eventually) a new world of fun, too, from snowball fights to skating and skiing.

The consequences of this long-past conquest of winter have about run their course. All the world now belongs to man and settlements can be established with reasonable comfort even in Greenland and Antarctica. For now, those polar establishments are intended for scientists and soldiers, but the tourists will eventually follow. People now alive may yet see the establishment of^a Hilton-Antarcdca or Sheraton-Greenland.

But by this opening of “all the world” to human occupancy, we mean dry land, of course. What about the sea and, in particular, the continental shelves?

If man can solve his social problems; if he can restrain his itch to set nuclear fire to himself, or breed himself into starvation; surely he will soon step back into the sea from which he sprung and the spires of his towers will begin to shine dimly beneath the waves.

Consider the dwellings of man-in-the-sea. Inside his water-tight sea-buildings, or perhaps under the water-tight dome that will enclose an entire settlement, he will live in air and have his usual fun. But outside the dome, there will be a world of water at his disposal.

To the sea-dwellers, water will be an ever-constant fact of life. Children will learn to swim as they learn to walk, and scuba-diving will be as common to them as hiking is to us. The sea will fill with flippered humanity hunting barracuda and exploring the drowned bottoms.

And how friendly will the new aquanauts become with sea-creatures? Will boys have their pet salmons, so to speak, who will follow them about in the water?

I suspect not. Fish are not very brainy. Yet there are sea-birds and sea-mammals that offer a far more hopeful prospect. There are penguins and seals and, in particular, dolphins, which are intelligent and friendly.

Even land-lubbing men get along with dolphins—but when men enter the sea, the friendship ought to get closer still. Dolphins are more intelligent than dogs (some suspect they may be more intelligent than men) and it may be that for the first time in history two species of intelligent creatures may meet on roughly equal terms.

And fun? Dolphin-riding ought to be a sensation that cannot possibly be duplicated on land, and I am certain that dolphins will instantly get into the spirit of the thing.

In all ordinary sea-sports, even for the sea-dwellers, humans must remain air-breathing. The buildings and settlements themselves will be air-immersed and a man who ventures into the sea will do so with oxygen cylinders strapped to himself.

But will that
be necessary? Sucessful experiments have already been conducted with water that has been oxygenated under pressure. (After all, it is not the water that drowns you, but the oxygen-lack.) Enough oxygen can be forced into solution in water to support an air-breathing animal. Dogs can breathe such water and their lungs can scrabble enough oxygen out of it to support life. Dogs have remained under water for extended periods and emerged none the worse for the ordeal.

Naturally, we can’t oxygenate the entire ocean, but surely we can oxygenate indoor pools under pressure. Within those pools, men can swim as water-breathing creatures and, with no equipment at all, stay immersed for hours at a time. How it would feel, I can’t possibly imagine. But I suspect it would introduce a new kind of freedom and a new sort of sensation that would be completely exciting to many.

Theoretically, we don’t need a sea environment to make this form of recreation possible. (Let’s call it “sub-water and breathing,” or “swab” for short.) We can construct “swab” pools in Rockfeller Center if we wish and do so right now. However, persuading land-dwellers to immerse themselves in water and breathe may be most difficult. It would be far less difficult to persuade sea-dwellers—used to the friendly ocean—to do so. “Swab” may be the recreation of sea-dwellers only, however much it may be possible on land.

Then, of course, we have the Moon. This, at first, will consist only of specialists, scientists, technicians and explorers, remaining for short watches upon our satellite. Give us another generation and commercial flights to the Moon will be possible.

That might give us an answer, for the while, to the problem of “But where can one go that’s really exciting?”

Just being on the Moon will certainly be fun and excitement enough for tourists. The scenery will be novel, and the sky overhead, in particular, will have the beauty of the never-seen. Imagine a black sky in which there are more and brighter stars than ever we see on Earth (because there is no atmosphere on the Moon to dim them).

Imagine too the Earth, as it hangs almost motionless in the sky, going through its phases like a vast and brilliant Moon!

The Earth in the Moon’s sky is four times the width of the Moon as we see it from Earth. When the Earth is full it will be seventy times as bright as our full Moon. The Earth’s globe will be bluish-white and its cloud pattern will mark it in stripes and whirlpools. Faint washes of green and brown may indicate the continents at time, but their outlines will rarely if ever be made out clearly.

At this writing, only two men have been fortunate enough to see these sights. By the time it appears, they will be joined by two, and perhaps four, more. Can anyone doubt that by the time this century is over, they will have been joined by many more?

There will be dangers on the Moon, of course, well familiar to readers of science fiction. Underground, however, none of these dangers, and the surface extremes of temperature, will exist and the Moon will be very comfortable.

Nor need the underground be viewed as nothing more than forever-imprisoning caves. Through television receivers, views of the outside and even (properly filtered) of the Sun itself can be shown. And men will be able to emerge comfortably in the early night when the Sun is below the horizon and when the cold is not yet at its worst.

Undoubtedly, the greatest sight of all, bar none— whether seen directly or by closed-circuit television within the underground—will be the occasions when the Sun slips behind the Earth. We see such occasions from the Earth as an eclipse of the Moon.

Once the Sun is behind the Earth, the globe of our planet will be entirely black (we will be seeing the night-side) but the atmosphere all about will blaze orange-red with the slanting rays of the Sun. It will be as though we were watching a sunset scene through all Earth’s atmosphere at once. And around that large bright orange circle in the sky will be the pearly streamers of the Sun’s corona, visible far more brightly and clearly than ever on Earth. Beyond the corona will be the hard brilliance of the stars.

Passage to the Moon will surely be at a premium in the weeks before an eclipse of the Earth is due.

But the Moon will be more than a sight-seeing paradise. It will offer active sport to Earthmen, too, thanks to its gravity. Anyone on the Moon will be pulled downward with a force only one-sixth that which is experienced on the Earth. A man who weighs 180 pounds on the Earth will weigh only 30 pounds on the Moon. This will give rise to a whole new range of sensations and offer the pleasure of mastering a whole new range of skills.

BOOK: Infinity One
4.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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