In Shakespeare’s famous lines from The Tempest, the spirit Ariel addresses Ferdinand, prince of Naples, now grieving over the death of his father in the shipwreck that has brought them to a remote island in an earlier era of exploration. The lines have an eerie punch given our discussion of the changes humanity may bring upon itself as we adapt to deep space:
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange…
From this has emerged the modern shadings on ‘sea-change,’ yet another Shakespearean coinage that has enriched the language. I thought about The Tempest while reading through the Working Track Report from TVIW 2016, a symposium in which these adaptations took center stage. The new edition of Stellaris: People of the Stars (Baen, 2020), discussed last Friday, contains the short report, prompting this examination of its conclusions along with a look at some of the fiction and non-fiction that takes up the bulk of the volume, all on the topic of human transformation.
Species Bifurcation at the Oort
In what sense will interstellar ...