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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories Discusses

Spiraling In

Spiraling In begins in issue 546 and concludes in this issue.

The style of the end reminds a little bit of Bester’s The Stars: My Destination. And the chronology worked, in the end. Good job.

You’re right... I hadn’t thought of that, the ending does recall Alfred Bester’s optimism. Driscoll is not Bester’s Gully Foyle, but he does play a crucial role in this realistic version of evolution as progress.

The Stars: My Destination may qualify as fantasy, what with “jaunting” and Foyle’s emergence as a new interstellar life form. Spiraling In, on the contrary, remains “hard” science fiction: the terraforming and the artificial intelligence — perhaps in the form of a quantum computer — are conceivable as being someday within the realm of possibility.

Alfred Bester and Arthur C. Clarke share an “upward and outward” optimism, although Bester has none of Clarke’s cynicism. That’s probably why Bester concludes his novel — somewhat curiously — with Christian symbolism, something Clarke would have abhorred.

Spiraling In uses similar symbolism, namely Demeter, but it is taken from the natural world. Alfred Bester’s and Mark Bonica’s visions aren’t mutually exclusive; historically they’ve always been seen as complementary. And ultimately the choice of symbolism may be beside the point.

In the end, if there is such a thing, Driscoll himself is the center of the “spiral.” He returns to Rogue, where his primordial microbes are bringing life to a desert planet and where, at the same time, an ultimately advanced artifact, the computer, came to life.

Copyright © 2013 by Bewildering Stories

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