Rediscovering the Past and Technology as in James Blish’s “Surface Tension”
V. Suganthi

Dr. V. Suganthi, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Thiruvalluvar Government Arts College Rasipuram, Namakkal (Tamil Nadu), India.
Manuscript received on 04 February 2019 | Revised Manuscript received on 17 February 2019 | Manuscript Published on 19 February 2019 | PP: 21-24 | Volume-7 Issue-5S January 2019 | Retrieval Number: ES2118017519/19©BEIESP
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Abstract: James Blish’s short story “Surface Tension” is about the humans who colonize the universe. The story is spun around a fantastic concept and set in an extremely exotic locale. It is about a society gone to the primitive times and now rediscovering the wonders of technology.Humans from Earth travel to distant planets that have similar earth-like qualities, including an atmosphere, and they create humans who can survive there. They colonize them by sending a “seedship” and create new life forms adapted to live there. The spaceship they travel crashes on a water planet. Though the crew survives in the crash, all the forms of communication are broken. The germ cell bank also is no longer with them and they have to manage with whatever they are left with. So they create genetically changed seeds in the form of water adapted humanoids who have to fight their way in the antagonist environment under water in order that human race survives on earth even after they become extinct. Those humanoids develop a spaceship which enables them to pierce the previously impenetrable surface tension of the water and travel through the hostile space to other worlds in other puddles of water breaking the barriers between water and the air above it. The concept of ancestral memory, Noam Chomsky’s theory of genetic semantic memory and T.S.Eliot’s theory on tradition and individual talent form the basis for this short story.
Keywords: Rediscovering the Past, Technology, Humanoids, Ancestral Memory, Genetic Semantic Memory, Tradition and Individual Talent.
Scope of the Article: Social Sciences