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Volume 6466


Part 5
By R. Johnson

Maureen Birnbaum After Dark (1989)
Ref: Nightfall by Isaac Asimov
Here is where most people get confused.  After reading Maureen Birnbaumís Lunar Adventure (1986) and Maureen Birnbaum, After Dark (1989), both of which have almost identical forwards, most historians tend to assume that the After Dark Adventure is the first and the Lunar Adventure happened in 1993.  The fact is that the Lunar Adventure DID happen in 1986!  But so did After Dark.  And here is the explanation.

After telling Elizabeth about her Lunar Adventure and Josh walks in, Maureen never left!  For reasons of her own, Maureen remained to describe yet another adventure, only this time to both Elizabeth and Josh.  Maureen did not go directly from the Moon to NYC, she visited her family to bathe a bit.  Remember, she stank from that space suit!  So here is what I think happened.

I suspect that Maureen left Elizabeth after the Honeymoon-in-Bermuda incident, visited her family to remind them that she was still alive and to collect a credit card and some traveling cash and to change into her gold bikini because she was tired of losing clothes (her ski outfits vanished in Vermont.  Her replacement clothes courtesy of Elizabethís mother remained in Pellucidar.  And her next set got all bloody from the duel with Milo in the Horseclans adventure.  Maureen was simply tired of having her good clothes lost or destroyed and if she was to see Prince Van and be his Princess, why not dress the part.

From her fatherís house she went to the Far Future, the year 802,701+ to be almost exact to lead the Eloi in revolt against the Morlocks to finish the work of The Time Traveler.
Then on the way back, she missed again and ended up on Lagosh where she met Sergol-154.  Now remember that Sergol-154 was an astronomer, not some High School astronomy-nerd and that makes Sergol-154 at the youngest in his late 20s, more probably mid 30s.  Sergol-154 saw 16-year-old Maureen in her gold bikini and decided that she would mate with him after the Fall.  Imagine a teen-aged schoolgirl meeting a man her fatherís age who demands that she bear his children!  Not only was this like totally gross old guy wanting to deflower her (more on that later) but he was wearing a silver jump-suit with shoulder wings!  Imagine Maureen being seen in public with someone who had no fashion sense at all! <shudder>
Lagosh wasnít a place she liked because the gravity was greater than Earth and Maureen, no slim girl, was now hefting an extra 15 pounds!  And being near the center of the Galaxy, there were five suns and the lighting was far from flattering, giving her a beet-like color and she describes sorting out the local rules so you know if you will be eaten by some monster or worshipped as a goddess and she mentions being worshiped is only marginally better.  This is another indication of other adventures as nothing tried to eat her in her previous described adventures, but a Morlock would have tried.  The Sagoths did not worship her, they saw her as a High Priestess.  Lagosh-154 saw her as a breeder!

16-year-old Maureen felt dirty and as soon as possible, after saving that world, she changed back into her Horseclans outfit.  From there, she missed again, no visible stars to guide her, and landed on the Moon in August of 2017 where she wore that really grody and stinking space suit.

After leaving the Moon, she returned to her family home to find her father and his new bride off shopping someplace so she bathed, washed her Horseclans outfit and only then did she visit Elizabeth to tell her about her Lunar Adventure.

Josh entered and instead of leaving immediately, to the consternation of both Elizabeth and Josh, plopped down, had a glass of wine or whatever, and told them about Lagosh!  THAT is when she left for her next adventure and the next chapter to this series.

Maureen is worried as she has always been able to see her destination, or so she says.  She never saw Pellucidar nor did she see the future Earth so why worry?   But she was.
TRIVIA: Lagash lies near the center of the galaxy orbiting Alpha, one of a system of six stars orbiting each other.  There is also an unseen moon orbiting Lagash.  Every 2,049 years, five stars group together within a narrow arc and the moon eclipses Beta, the sixth star, causing the planet to go into shadow as it rotates.  The unexpected darkness causes the population in the night-side to go mad and destroy civilization.  This madness travels as the planet rotates until the suns separate and light returns to the entire planet.  This has happened nine times before.  If so, then each rise cannot be at high as the previous as each rise in technology would require resources such as oil or gas which would quickly become depleted, forcing the next level of Lagoshians to use methane or other forms of power that are not as efficient.  They will never rise to any decent technology as the resources are used and destroyed with each rise and fall.



Rick Johnson Feature Articles and Fiction in ERBzine


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