Friday, 26 July 2013

Different Skies: The Union and the Sun God

So last few days here the weather has been hot and sticky and since we British don't do air-conditioning writing has been an uphill chore. Still it's cooled down a little so back to the contents of Different Skies.

The title of this story seems rather portentous at first glance but that's rather deceptive since the story is probably the most low key in the collection. The title is actually an oblique reference to the 'Space Race' of the 1960s. In that context I'm sure most of you will guess that the sun god in question is Apollo and as for the Union well in Russian the word would be 'Soyuz'; and the spacecraft of that name is the mainstay of the Russian program to this day. So the title is just a cryptic version of 'Soyuz and Apollo'.

Now this is a work of alternate history but in this case both the origin of the change and its effect are not immediately obvious as the main character finds himself in Moscow a couple of years after the fall of the USSR. Disgusted at the way the city has been overrun with fast food joints and tacky tourist souvenirs he goes looking for something 'real' and finds it in a shop whose proprietor tells him the story of a forgotten tragedy of the early days of spaceflight and a fleeting moment of opportunity that slipped away and never came back.

As I said quite low key but it explores a what if that could easily have happened and had unexpected consequences. Anyway next time we come to the origins of 'Fourth Planet Problem' and that story is anything but low key...

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