On a dead spaceship drifting round a star
The trapped inhabitants are born and die.
The engineers’ broad privileges lie
In engine room and solar panel power.
The fruit and vegetables and protein coops
Are run by farmers with genetics skills:
The products of their dirt and careful kills
Help service trade between the several groups.
Others – musicians, architects – can skip
Along the paths of interlinking webs.
Beyond these gated pods that the rich carve
For their own selves (but still within the ship),
In useless parts, are born the lackluck plebs.
Heard but ignored, they just hunt rats or starve.
This sonnet was published in Star*Line, the official journal of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, a quarterly edited by poet and English prof Vince Gotera. Each issue contains a vast diversity of sf&f poetry. Not much of it is formal, but that is all part of the diversity which is appropriate to its genre.
So a sonnet is fine. And this one, like so much sf, is a metaphor for Earth today: circling the Sun, carrying highly unequal societies.
Technically, it is a sonnet to be sneered at by purists: it rhymes ABBA CDDC EFGEFG, the second quartet failing to rhyme with the first, making it a flawed Petrarchan sonnet. In addition, rhyming “star” with “power” is a bit of a stretch, one syllable against two, and none of them sharing quite the same vowel… Oh well, it’s only Science Fiction…
This sonnet looks at the way humans have deliberately explored into challenging new
“Mary, river daredevil” by magnetbox
environments, and suggests we will keep doing this until we’re human no longer. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, any more than our past changes appear bad to us now.
The poem was published last week in Bewildering Stories, the online science fiction (or speculative fiction) magazine which has been running for some 18 years. And with poetry, of course!
The link that I have given to the poem takes you to a further link where the editor solicits opinions about the meaning of some of the poem’s statements. The Challenge questions are an interesting addition.
From Cavemen to Post-Human
From the first cavemen clinging to some logs,
escaping with their lives from flood or slaughter,
to mega-palaces that cruise the water,
humans became amphibious as frogs.
Then into space: hostile environment,
no barrier to ways to stay alive,
no worse in Mars domes, modules at L5
than in an igloo or a desert tent.
Next, thought balloons by tech cut free of place,
drifting connecting through ethereal skies,
where we upload ourselves as thought and rise
into the cloud as a post-human race
in new non-human landscapes without land,
pure energy as a new tribal band.