‘The planet Tandy was a gas giant as big as Jupiter, a beautiful object when it rose into Tandy Two’s skies, but uninhabitable and unapproachable.’
“O Moon of My Delight” is a character-driven short story with an interstellar setting. It is one of eight stories found in Brian Aldiss’ 1963 collection “The Airs of Earth“. The story opens with Murragh Harrison preparing to watch the arrival of a Faster-Than-Light starship. He is on the moon Tandy Two, a place which is used as a kind of braking device for the incoming F.T.L. ships. Harrison, a wannabe poet, is there for the spectacular display.
‘The F.T.L. ship burst into normal space on automatic control, invisible and unheard at first. Boring for the world like a metal fist swung at a defenseless heart, it was a gale of force.’
“O Moon of My Delight” is a solid story about a small group of characters living and working on this Earth-like moon. It is told from the perspective of Captain Roberts, a maintenance officer currently posted on Tandy Two. Despite its setting, it’s a very human story with Aldiss exploring the different relationships of the main characters, their connections to Tandy Two and each other.
‘”You’ll miss this view,” I said, gazing over the great mysterious body of Tandy whose contours were clad in green and freckled here and there with sheep.’
Aldiss also delves into some of the differences between Faster-Than-Light travel and Slower-Than-Light travel, making some thought-provoking points about how they might work. It’s a good story and I enjoyed it. Brian Aldiss writes science fiction which is full of ideas as well as imagination, and he can also pen beautiful, poetic descriptions when he so desires. Recommended.
Sunday March 22nd 2020
It has been eleven weeks since I began this Short Story Tarot Challenge. It has led me to some fascinating stories and introduced me to authors I’ve never read before. That’s one of the great things about reading challenges:-)
Onto the next story. After a careful shuffle, I draw the Six of Cups, also called “Pleasure”. This card suggests deep emotions, balance and harmony. The story paired with this card is “TWO ODYSSEYS INTO THE CENTER” (1972) by Barry N. Malzberg. It’s taken from the collection ‘Nova 2‘ Edited by Harry Harrison. I know the author’s name but have yet to read anything written by him.
Thank you very much for reading and see you next time.