Discussion:
Anvil, Willis, a Question of Influence
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Joe Bernstein
2020-01-07 04:02:53 UTC
Permalink
So yesterday I read:

Nevv looked at the emergency air lock with a sudden unpleasant
thought. "Did anyone happen to notice if we've still got the air
lock here?"
Mannin said, "We've got the base and the hinges. I noticed
that the last time I came in. The lock door itself is stripped
out."
Nevv felt as if he had been hit in the pit of the stomach.
The communications receiver went *ping*.
Hughes trudged over to it. After a moment he said, "This is in
the new code."
"Decode it," said Nevv.
Mannin said, "Did somebody say something about the air being
gone from the aft section?"
"Yes," said Nevv. "We apparently lost the upper segment of the
fuel feed right through the outer wall the last time we got away
from the Flats. With all the bulkheads stripped out, the air just
went out through the hole."
"Oh . . . Oh," said Mannin. "Well, there's at least one
spacesuit in the emergency locker there."

This is in "Cargo for Colony Six" by Christopher Anvil. I'd read the
story's original, 1958, version the day before (here:

<https://archive.org/details/Astounding_v61n06_1958-08_EXciter-LennyS/page/n85>

with respect to this quote, unchanged by the revisions) and was
reading the revised version in the 2006 collection <The Trouble with
Aliens>. Anyway, on this second reading, I realised I'd read this
before, not the same exact text, but the particular emotion evoked by
this sort of pile-up of disaster; it's one of Connie Willis's main
tools.

She was twelve when the original appeared. I don't know of her ever
naming Anvil as an influence. Is this an example of convergence,
influence, or even a common source (Jerome K. Jerome comes to mind)?

Joe Bernstein
--
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-01-07 04:58:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
Nevv looked at the emergency air lock with a sudden unpleasant
thought. "Did anyone happen to notice if we've still got the air
lock here?"
Mannin said, "We've got the base and the hinges. I noticed
that the last time I came in. The lock door itself is stripped
out."
Nevv felt as if he had been hit in the pit of the stomach.
The communications receiver went *ping*.
Hughes trudged over to it. After a moment he said, "This is in
the new code."
"Decode it," said Nevv.
Mannin said, "Did somebody say something about the air being
gone from the aft section?"
"Yes," said Nevv. "We apparently lost the upper segment of the
fuel feed right through the outer wall the last time we got away
from the Flats. With all the bulkheads stripped out, the air just
went out through the hole."
"Oh . . . Oh," said Mannin. "Well, there's at least one
spacesuit in the emergency locker there."
This is in "Cargo for Colony Six" by Christopher Anvil. I'd read the
<https://archive.org/details/Astounding_v61n06_1958-08_EXciter-LennyS/page/n85>
with respect to this quote, unchanged by the revisions) and was
reading the revised version in the 2006 collection <The Trouble with
Aliens>. Anyway, on this second reading, I realised I'd read this
before, not the same exact text, but the particular emotion evoked by
this sort of pile-up of disaster; it's one of Connie Willis's main
tools.
She was twelve when the original appeared. I don't know of her ever
naming Anvil as an influence. Is this an example of convergence,
influence, or even a common source (Jerome K. Jerome comes to mind)?
Well, she did go on to write _To Say Nothing of the Dog._ Note
also therein, the strong influence of Dorothy L. Sayers.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
Joe Bernstein
2020-01-07 21:36:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
Nevv felt as if he had been hit in the pit of the stomach.
Anyway, on this second reading, I realised I'd read this
before, not the same exact text, but the particular emotion evoked by
this sort of pile-up of disaster; it's one of Connie Willis's main
tools.
She was twelve when the original appeared. I don't know of her ever
naming Anvil as an influence. Is this an example of convergence,
influence, or even a common source (Jerome K. Jerome comes to mind)?
Being hit in the stomach? I don't recall, but
there were some boating and biking accidents
in J's stories. Such as cycling quite a long way
peacefully before realising that your wife fell off
the back some time and some miles ago.
I very vaguely remember - so there's a good chance my memory is
making this up - an accumulation of disaster, though admittedly more
of the livelihood-and-status-threatening than of the life-threatening
kind - near the beginning of <Three Men in a Boat>. It may not have
been as terse as Anvil's version, or as it can be in Willis.

Hmmm. Looking at the book at Gutenberg, I find myself wondering
whether Jerome knew the *word* 'terse'. Did I really read this book
once upon a time? Anyway, I can't find such a passage (having waded
through about 30% of the book), so probably my memory is yet again
lying to me.

<https://www.gutenberg.org/files/308/308-h/308-h.htm>
...If there is no airlock door then however
will they get out?
Only on planets. They land on one, patch the hull, and can thus go
aft again; later they land on another. We're in one of those
convenient universes where oxygenated atmospheres inhabited by bipeds
[1] are common.

Joe Bernstein

[1] The first planet they land on is inhabited by nomads of dubious
advancement level. They've previously been visited by Our Heroes'
enemies, who belong to a bipedal but not very human-like alien
species. One of the nomads' complaints about these enemies is that
the enemies stole "four of our most beautiful women", I kid you not.
--
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>
Paul S Person
2020-01-08 18:08:16 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 7 Jan 2020 21:36:47 -0000 (UTC), Joe Bernstein
Post by Joe Bernstein
Post by Joe Bernstein
Nevv felt as if he had been hit in the pit of the stomach.
Anyway, on this second reading, I realised I'd read this
before, not the same exact text, but the particular emotion evoked by
this sort of pile-up of disaster; it's one of Connie Willis's main
tools.
She was twelve when the original appeared. I don't know of her ever
naming Anvil as an influence. Is this an example of convergence,
influence, or even a common source (Jerome K. Jerome comes to mind)?
Being hit in the stomach? I don't recall, but
there were some boating and biking accidents
in J's stories. Such as cycling quite a long way
peacefully before realising that your wife fell off
the back some time and some miles ago.
I very vaguely remember - so there's a good chance my memory is
making this up - an accumulation of disaster, though admittedly more
of the livelihood-and-status-threatening than of the life-threatening
kind - near the beginning of <Three Men in a Boat>. It may not have
been as terse as Anvil's version, or as it can be in Willis.
Hmmm. Looking at the book at Gutenberg, I find myself wondering
whether Jerome knew the *word* 'terse'. Did I really read this book
once upon a time? Anyway, I can't find such a passage (having waded
through about 30% of the book), so probably my memory is yet again
lying to me.
<https://www.gutenberg.org/files/308/308-h/308-h.htm>
...If there is no airlock door then however
will they get out?
Only on planets. They land on one, patch the hull, and can thus go
aft again; later they land on another. We're in one of those
convenient universes where oxygenated atmospheres inhabited by bipeds
[1] are common.
Joe Bernstein
[1] The first planet they land on is inhabited by nomads of dubious
advancement level. They've previously been visited by Our Heroes'
enemies, who belong to a bipedal but not very human-like alien
species. One of the nomads' complaints about these enemies is that
the enemies stole "four of our most beautiful women", I kid you not.
I've come to view that sort of thing as the racist insistence that
white women are more beautiful and so more desirable than any other
women, applied to such an extreme as to make it a satire of itself.
--
"I begin to envy Petronius."
"I have envied him long since."
Joe Bernstein
2020-01-13 02:37:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
Post by Joe Bernstein
Nevv felt as if he had been hit in the pit of the stomach.
Anyway, on this second reading, I realised I'd read this
before, not the same exact text, but the particular emotion evoked by
this sort of pile-up of disaster; it's one of Connie Willis's main
tools.
She was twelve when the original appeared. I don't know of her ever
naming Anvil as an influence. Is this an example of convergence,
influence, or even a common source (Jerome K. Jerome comes to mind)?
Being hit in the stomach? I don't recall, but
there were some boating and biking accidents
in J's stories. Such as cycling quite a long way
peacefully before realising that your wife fell off
the back some time and some miles ago.
I very vaguely remember - so there's a good chance my memory is
making this up - an accumulation of disaster, though admittedly more
of the livelihood-and-status-threatening than of the life-threatening
kind - near the beginning of <Three Men in a Boat>. It may not have
been as terse as Anvil's version, or as it can be in Willis.
Hmmm. Looking at the book at Gutenberg, I find myself wondering
whether Jerome knew the *word* 'terse'. Did I really read this book
once upon a time? Anyway, I can't find such a passage (having waded
through about 30% of the book), so probably my memory is yet again
lying to me.
<https://www.gutenberg.org/files/308/308-h/308-h.htm>
It belatedly dawns on me that the title of the book in which I read
that scene was almost certainly <To Say Nothing of the Dog>. Which
negates that scene as a possible influence on Willis, because, as Ms.
Heydt already pointed out in this thread, the book is *by* Willis.

So at this point I have no evidence that Jerome could be the common
source for this kind of thing in both Anvil (this isn't his only one
even in the single book I read, just the most Willis-like) and Willis.
Which, I suppose, marginally increases the chance that Willis learnt
it from Anvil, but there are other possible common sources; for
example, screwball comedy movies. Or some other book by Jerome, for
that matter.

Joe Bernstein
--
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>
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