New America
by Poul Anderson

Six stories and an essay. The first four stories, for which the book is named, chronicle the life of Daniel Coffin, who happens naturally to be well suited to living anywhere on New America--a planet whose air is too heavy for most humans to breathe except in the highlands. The New America, which is the background for the first four stories is supposed to be a libertarian country, but it has a law that requires every couple to breed children for the common good, and it has the authority to permit or prohibit new immigrants.

In the first story he is a boy who helps a man recover things from an air car that crashed in the jungle. In the second story he is a teenager who rescues several people, including a girl he has a crush on, who were trapped on a hill by creatures gone berserk from the petroleum smells emanating from their air car. In the third story he and his wife have to find foster parents for their new baby because it lacks the natural ability to breathe the air in the low country. He persuades a prosperous friend to be the foster father of his baby and to build factories in the low lands, even though building the factories there is not efficient. He is concerned with preventing the cultures of the highlanders and lowlanders from becoming too diverse and disdainful of each other. In the fourth story he is a highly esteemed old man who persuades the planetís legislature to permit and prepare for new immigrants on their way from Earth.

The next two stories are described in The Queen of Air and Darkness by Poul Anderson.

The essay is about the scientific possibilities for of space travel and colonization. The essay reveals Poul Anderson preference for state-coerced space science over freedom.

Year Read: 2001

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