Hopes, Dashed

Novella "Stardance" coverI’m already several thousand words into my latest, but had to stop for some research. More research. Interviewing dancers research. (Okay, my daughter, but still…) And then I remembered Jeanne and Spider Robinson’s book “Stardance.” Well, I actually remember the original novella. It was a bit odd delving that far back into SF writings. Winced at casual misogyny in cover, in character descriptions. (The blog featured image is the cover of the original novella and it’s the least “Astounding Gran Tetons” cover of all the editions.)

And I’m gonna have to retool this baby from scratch. Zero-gee and low-grav dancing is possible—read said novella, which left me a little wetter-eyed than I expected at the story’s hook. But I’ve a new appreciation for the challenges that mooners—first generation moon-born people—will face.

We earthborn can scamper across the surface, glibly bouncing around in 1/6th earth gravity. And we have the musculature and bone density and tensile strength to torque and shove masses we’d never be able to heft on terra firma. But for people on the moon for five years, or ten, it’d be a different story. It’s a better tale than the same time in zero-gee, but the body does adapt to the “new norm.” And the Robinsons had astute visions of long-term zero-gee.

By my research the moonborn would have thinner bones, much thinner muscles. These aren’t zero-gee-adapted quaddies as described in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Falling Free. These are frail beings without the force necessary to create torque with their hands, their bodies.

Dancing would be interesting for the muscled earthers, as they’d have to learn how to tread more lightly, spin more softly. But yet another lethal barrier for those born under 1G in a 1G world.