Friday, May 29, 2009

Contact page 4

So here on the last page, we have this wizard cum navigator inside one of the blimps studying his charts. He is surrounded by his tools: a compass, a small scale, a quill pen, some other pens, what I think must be a sextant in front, and books, bottles, telescopes, a bell, a rope, and a lot of rather ornate equipment of various sorts that give a feel for the quality of life aboard the blimp more than giving information about what he is doing. I really like this large upper frame. It gives a sense of life in another time and place, a culture where alchemy is a science and the instruments of science are handmade and decorative. I suppose the idea of a society led by wizards who dress in billowing sleeves and tapestry fabrics is a staple of science fiction. In that sort of society spiritual questions enter naturally into the dialogue and magic is part of ones daily life.

The wizard is distracted from his labors by something that makes the bird squawk, and then we see that the something (the bullet from the first page) has made a hole in the window. So the title of the story is ironic. The man on earth made contact. That was it.

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