Sunday, September 12, 2010

Good Taste

Plot

Chawker Minor returns from his 'Grand Tour', including a visit to Earth, to his home on Gammer, one of several artificial satellites  orbiting the Moon. The introverted society of Gammer specialises in artificial computer-designed food flavourings much in demand in Earth, to the point of shunning "natural" food grown in "dirt", and Chawker is inspired to enter the annual competition for flavouring, using something new and radical.

Despite the disapproval of his parents and elder brother, Chawker Minor does design a new flavouring which wins the competition. Asked by the Grand Master, who can taste and analyse flavourings to the smallest detail, to explain his successful and intriguing entry, he reveals that he has not used artificial computer-designed molecules, but an actual raw ingredient, garlic, maintaining that no assemblage of molecules may duplicate the complexity of a living organism.

The Grand Master, and all Gammer society, are revolted by this breach of good taste. Chawker Minor is disavowed by all and exiled from his home.


Relationship to Other Works

This story has links to three significant works, and ties together with the history of the Spacers. The Orbital Habitat, Gammer (a corruption of the Greek letter/number, Gamma), is one of "51 Colonies" making up an O'Neill Halo in Earth Space. More of the society of the colonies is explored in "The Nations in Space"

The 51 Colonies are imagined to be independent but united, a space borne analogy of the United States of America. Not only this, but the emergent Spacers on the colonies are engaging in technology and lifestyle changes that mark them afterwards - dependency on Robots, use of Micro-foods, and an enhanced immune system.

Colonies later engage in interstellar exploration, and a retain a pathology for Earth and its ways, explored in Nemesis and the Caves of Steel series.

The mastery of Micro Foods, explored in this story, become the mainstay of the survivors of the Spacers, when they settle in Mycogen on Trantor (Prelude to Foundation).

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