Man Plus
Frederik Pohl

Frederik Pohl

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Man Plus


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Man Plus

Copyright © 1976 by Frederik Pohl

An Astronaut and His World

What the astronauts represented was a dream. The dream was priceless to the Man in the Street, especially if it was a dank, stinking Calcutta street where families slept on the sidewalk and roused themselves at dawn to queue for the one free bowl of food. It was a gritty, grimy world, and space gave it a little bit of beauty and excitement. Not much, but better than none at all.



What the President Wanted
His couple of generally unsatisfactory experiments at adultery had been more shabby and troublesome than rewarding, but he liked thinking of himself as the sort of man whose wife had to worry about the attentions of other women.
Man Becoming Martian

Man is not bound by objective facts. If they inconvenience him, he changes them, or makes an end run around them.

Man cannot survive on Mars. However, man cannot survive in the Antarctic, either. But he does.

Man survives in places where he ought to die, by bringing a kinder environment with him. He carries what he needs. His first invention along those lines was clothing. His second, storable food, like dried meat and parched grain. His third, fire. His most recent, the whole series of devices and systems that gave him access to the sea bottoms and to space.

The first alien planet men walked on was the moon. It was even more hostile than Mars, in that the vital supplies of which Mars had very little—air, water and food—did not, on the moon, exist at all. Yet as early as the 1960’s men visited the moon, carrying with them air and water and everything else they needed in life-support systems mounted on their spacesuits or built into their landing modules. From there it was no trick to build the systems bigger.



Dorothy Louise Mintz Torraway as Penelope

One of the things that had attracted her to Roger in the first place, apart from the glamour of the space program and the security and money that went with it—and apart from Roger’s rather nice-looking, studly self—was that he was willing to listen to what she wanted, which was not the same from man to man but very consistent within the range of relationships of any one man. Harold always wanted to dance and party, Jim always wanted sex, Everett wanted sex and parties, Tommy wanted political dedication, Joe wanted mothering. What Roger wanted was to explore the world with her along, and he seemed perfectly willing to explore the parts of it that she wanted as much as the parts that were important to him.

She had never regretted marrying him.



She described herself as happy. This diagnosis did not come from any welling up of joy inside herself. It came from the observed fact, looking at herself objectively, that whenever she decided she wanted something she always got it, and what other definition of happiness could there be?
Missionary to Mars

He knew all about Mars. He always had.

As a child he had grown up on the Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars, the colorful Barsoom of the ocher dead sea bottoms and hurtling tiny moons. As he grew older he distinguished fact from fiction. There was no reality in the four-armed green warriors and the red-skinned, egg-laying, beautiful Martian princesses, to the extent that science was in touch with “reality.” But he knew that scientists’ estimates of “reality” changed from year to year. Burroughs had not invented Barsoom out of airy imaginings. He had taken it almost verbatim from the most authoritative scientific “reality” of his day. It was Percival Lowell’s Mars, not Burroughs’s, that was finally denied by bigger telescopes and by space probes. In the “reality” of scientific opinion, life on Mars had been born and died a dozen times.

But, even that had never been settled, really. It depended on a philosophical question. What was “life”? Did it have to mean a creature that resembled an ape or an oak tree? Did it necessarily mean a creature which dissolved its nutrients in a water-based biology, took part in an oxidation-reduction cycle of energy transfer, reproduced itself and grew thereby from the environment? Don Kayman did not think so. He considered it arrogance to limit “life” so parochially, and he was humble in the face of his Creator’s all-potentiating majesty.

text checked (see note) Apr 2007

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