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Old 01-14-2019, 08:58 AM
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Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
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Did any post-Gemini Science Fiction predict how little we would travel in space?

I remember Galaxy, IF and the like, with shiny spaceships travelling to distant planets by the turn of the century. What I don't recall reading, however, are any stories where we just stopped trying to expand after a few initial trips. There were stories where aliens put up artificial barriers(either through malevolence or through fear), but not any where we talked ourselves out of expanding and colonizing other planets. Are there any stories out there that accurately predicted where we would be today when it came to space travel?
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:53 AM
Arkcon Arkcon is offline
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There is one that I recall, but its much later than right after Gemini. It was written by somebody famous whose name I've forgotten, but I didn't read the whole thing.

Basically, an astronaut comes back from deep space. He's being "reintroduced" to contemporary world culture. Basically a woman asks him, "Do you want to undress? Or have me undress? Shall we have sex?" He quickly realizes the point of her offers -- after what is decades of Earth time due to his near relativistic travel over a few years for him, there's no way he can be taught everything that happened. He has to learn to simply not call attention to himself when he encounters what's weird to him.

He does not succeed. He calls attention to himself while using his flying suit, and not responding quickly enough to young blonde girls asking him for sex -- the story goes that he is a mix of darker skinned races -- and deliberate miscegenation is required by world governments just prior to his leaving for space exploration.

It seems that Earth culture also hates space exploration, as it is very energy intensive, and Earth is energy-poor, even though leisure is pretty much the only thing Earth humans preoccupy themselves with. And once she and the other teens find out he's one of those space explorers, they decide to attack him, begrudgingly by the teen who solicited him.
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:56 AM
Aspidistra Aspidistra is offline
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Dystopian SF would seem to be a genre where you would find that sort of thing. For instance, in George Turners "Destiny Makers" set in the late 21st it's my memory of it that it contains no space travel, either in the narrative or the back story
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:59 AM
mbh mbh is offline
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Logan's Run. I forget the exact wording, but it was something along the lines of "Mankind reached for the stars, but was driven back by E=mc^2."
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:14 AM
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Not post-Gemini, but well before it


Fredric Brown wrote an uncharacteristically downbeat SF novel in 1953 entitled the Lights in the Sky are Stars about an aging ex-astronaut trying to revitalize the space program after Congress defunded it circa 2000. An interesting read, for many reasons (one being that it references another Broiwn novel -- What Mad Universe -- as a fictional work.)


https://www.amazon.com/Lights-Sky-ar.../dp/B0006ATK82
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:17 AM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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Not a book but a film. In Interstellar, civilization has collapsed to the point where school children are being taught that there never was such a thing as space travel - even if their dad is a former astronaut like Matthew McConaughey.
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:20 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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I remember a short story (but not the author or title) about a scientist with a time machine who decided that humanity would be much happier if we didn't fight so much and waste money on things like space travel. So he went back to different points in time (killing Napoleon with a brain embolism, IIRC) and changed things here or there, eventually giving the first caveman to eat meat a stomachache so that everyone would be vegetarian after that. Then he returned to the changed "present," in which humanity was a much less populous race, living in peace with one another in pleasant, scattered rustic villages. He destroyed his time machine and contentedly settled in to live among them.

The last line of the story is something like,
SPOILER:
Of course, when the Grellin battlecruisers took up orbit high above, humanity was, this time, utterly powerless to prevent its own subjugation.
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:43 AM
Didactylos Didactylos is offline
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There is Ballards "Memories of a space age" from 1982. I googled it and discovered that Ballard wrote enough similarly themed short stories (the first from 1962) for a collection to be published in 1988, also called "Memories of a space age".

I once read the title story, but none of the other short stories. It is set in a deserted Cape Caneveral, with a sparse gallery of characters doing the sort of things people in Ballard stories do. Ballard somewhat obliquely hints (or at least had his characters believe) that the general malaise and stagnation of this future world was related to space or the space program.
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:43 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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Arkcon, perhaps you're thinking of Stanislaw Lem's Return from the Stars:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_from_the_Stars
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:18 AM
MrAtoz MrAtoz is offline
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The 1969 Doctor Who story The Seeds of Death, set in the late twenty-first century, postulates that humans completely abandoned space travel after reaching the moon.

Of course, the reason they did so was that they had invented teleportation technology, which obviated the need for space travel, but you can't expect perfect accuracy.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:26 AM
Arkcon Arkcon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
Arkcon, perhaps you're thinking of Stanislaw Lem's Return from the Stars:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_from_the_Stars
Yes. Much of the plot is similar. I don't know if there is the racial angle that I remember, it may be similar.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:59 AM
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While not "post-Gemini" Asimov's "End of Eternity" has time-hopping /timeline-crossing humans noting that in virtually all timelines space travel comes up almost as a fad periodically and then collapses within a short time.
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Old 01-14-2019, 04:28 PM
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Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkcon View Post
Yes. Much of the plot is similar. I don't know if there is the racial angle that I remember, it may be similar.

No, it is a more recent book, from the late 1980s-early 1990s. Another scene takes place on a beach where a group of 15 (IIRC) year-old girls proposition the astronaut to have public group sex with them. He wonders what the age of consent is, and the answer is if you are old enough to want it, you are old enough. The world is overpopulated and the worst slur is "proccing" (not sure about spelling), derived from "procreate." I've read the book too, but also don't remember the title.

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Old 01-14-2019, 04:49 PM
Arkcon Arkcon is offline
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Quote:
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The world is overpopulated and the worst slur is "proccing" (not sure about spelling), derived from "procreate." I've read the book too, but also don't remember the title.
Yeah, I remember that bit, they just start calling him a "proc", and he didn't get the meaning. I remember him doing a real bad job a fitting in -- when he crashed his flight suit, he should have just said, "Sorry, cross-breeze. I'm out."

Hrm. If two authors came up with the concept, maybe its a trope, and I could look it up on tropes. Even that "Earth 2" show mentioned that sleeper ships at near relativistic speeds resulted in children who would be centuries older than their friends on Earth.
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