By John Birmingham
A superb tale within the The Disappearence trilogy. A "What if" tale of the chilly War… a small piece of exchange background of the interval informed through a biography of 1 of its gamers, Lieutenant department McKinnon, an adventurer in a distinct post-WWII international of yankee isolationism.
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Additional resources for A Captain of the Gate (The Disappearence)
And they are even more disturbed when they are told that it is tlze 15th of March ancl not the 19th of:Octobe~2' Puzzled by these anomalies, they nevertheless proceed with a series of transmissions between the Escondita, their ground cczntrczl station on Earth ( rzot Houston), and the nearby ship that will pick thern up, the Gloria, yet another unknown and alien name. In the ctturse of these ctbnwrsations and after checking some historicaf sources, the voice from Earth gives them the bad new: There was a Majar Norman flavis on tlze first Sunbird flight.
After patronizingly reassuring the Witeawayans that ""sexual equatity" has been reestablished on Earth (and here Russ critiques that species of white, male liberalism that comprczmised so many radical liberation movements), the leader gives his account of the history of Earth. In an irctnic parallel to the Whileawqan plague, Earth's population had suffered its own irreversibie genetic damage from spreading radiation (dt~e,in Russ's wry comment, to a nt~clearwar that "R~~ssia" seems to lzave won), Hence, the mission was launched to this longneglected colony to lzarvest fresh genes, Of course, in an instant justificatictn for their invasion and appropriation of women" genetic resources, the leader (in m r d s that worzld have been chillingly familiar to Rrzss's readers at the time of the Vietnam Mbar, second-wave feminism, and the beginnings of gay-fesbian Xiberaticzn) makes it clear that he has judged Mrlzileaway?
At this early moment, therefcjre, the insight offered by the historicat novef was a part of the ""bulcrgeok cultural revalurian, the process whereby the definitive establishment of a prctperty capitalist mode of prctducticzn as it were reprograms anci utterfy restructures tlze values, the rlzythms, cult~lralIzabits, and temporal sense of:its subjects" "'Progress" "9). The critical force of: the Izistorical novet, Izowevex; became a victim of: that very historical turn, for Tameson reminds tzs of LukAcs" argument that this popular form fell prey to the consolidation of the bourgeois power it first articulated, reaching a yctint (around the time of Flaubert) when the stimtzlation of a historical memory gave way to the compensation of a nostalgia that smoothed out the deep changes unmvered by a criticaf historical knotwiedge in ftarror of instrumen- Dangerous Visions 27 tal recottections of a past thamnow became part of the very ideological universe of the reigning bourgeois culture.
A Captain of the Gate (The Disappearence) by John Birmingham