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New Science Fiction & Fantasy INTERZONE ISSUE 283 OUT NOW!

Green Planet

24th May, 2012

Author: Roy Gray

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When I was infant the planet was green

in my father's pulpy old magazines

and the likes of Clarke, Asimov and Heinlein

were colossi, bestriding the SF scene

in Amazing, Galaxy, New Worlds, Astounding

Terra was always classically green

though wisps of cloud and browns were allowed


When I was a reader rockets rose into space

carrying the cameras that showed us our place

in the universe, on a speck of rock and dirt

Then we knew the planet shone unearthly blue

as we should have with our sky as the clue

So for Baxter, Egan and Interzone's crew

no need to mention the home world's hue


Mars, 'Planet of Adventure' for the boy who read Kline,

Burroughs and Bradbury, was definitely dusty, lifeless

and canal free when I had my own progeny.

Soon little wheeled robots were roaming around

and NASA had Disneyfied rocks on Mars' ground.

When Phoenix scraped ice from the Martian loam

the glaciers were melting closer to home.


When Earth was green and space was too high

cloud wrapped Venus seemed demure and shy

so Freudian its hot steamy jungles then

and nightmare monsters inimical to men

Then probes and landers showed the reality

of sulphuric clouds, a lead boiling sauna

torrid, oppressive, gloomy, hostile to any fauna


Bards had it silvery at night or in June

not the ash grey moonscapes shown on TV

Aldrin found it magnificently desolate

under a black sky graced by a blue planet

The small steps of men have not marked it since

but if we made that leap now what would we see

after the carbonised century?


We should have guessed from our own

acid rain, the rising carbon and the greenhouse

gain that Venus style clouds will soon shroud

our world's terrain and on the moon shine white

and bright when all beneath is dismal grey

twilight, frightening tides and drowning lands

Ballardian themes I read in my teens


Interzone is thirty and my hair is grey

well the tiny fraction that decided to stay

A warmer Earth is not an intended bequest

but the price of pollution no one foresaw

when green was a colour not a metaphor

So Interzone's years may well have been blessed

Will it reach forty? Let's hope for the best.



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