The Queen of Air and Darkness
by Poul Anderson

The title story and “Home” are also included in New America. The title story is about a planet colonized by humans on which the natives are regarded as extinct by the people who live in the cities and are regarded by frontier folklore as real creatures with supernatural powers who sometimes kidnap youngsters and who kill or drive out adults from the forbidden zone. The folklore turns out to be correct.

“Home” is about a planet with a small colony of scientists from Earth and an easy-going race of natives. An armed force is sent from Earth to retrieve the colonists before they ruin the culture of the natives. The scientists like living there and don’t want to leave.

In “The Alien Enemy” a few leaders of a colony perpetuate a fraud that the planet was attacked by aliens. They want the mother planet to bring them back, and this was the only way they could arrange it.

In “The Faun” the title character is a boy who is naturally adapted to the ecology a his planet. He rescues a man who gets lost in the jungle and gives him a lesson in ecology.

“In the Shadow” is about an expedition to study a shadow star consisting of negative mass and negative energy. The pilot leads the others to vote for continuing to follow and study the star rather than return home.

In “Time Lag” a woman is captured when a space navy attacks her planet. She becomes the mistress of the officer in charge even though she hates him for killing her husband and attacking her planet. At the end the planet invents techniques for successfully defending itself and defeats the invading navy. The women is asked to determine the fate of the captured leader. She says,

“There’s been too much suffering already, ... Just take him out and shoot him.” (147)

Year Read: 2001


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