Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ayn Rand comes to Darkover

Darkover fans are creative types and know lots of other writers as well as films, musicals, theater, and opera. They also love to mix genres and stories so that we can get Darkovan film noir, Darkovan opera, Darkovan detective stories, Darkovan horror or romance or humor or satire and even....Ayn Rand! The notorious capitalist champion's grandiose and technocratic output filled the fantasy of at least one Darkover fan who created a Rand-esque character to bring the Rand aesthetic to the world of the Red Sun.

The story takes place during the "re-colonization" of Darkover by the high-tech Terrans. "Marjorie," who was born on Darkover, works for the Terrans and is a highly ambitious type who wants to be the first person to build and operate a super-fast transport system (a space railroad, sort of) linking up the inhabited areas of the planet. As a Rand-ish character based on the railroad boss Dagny Taggart, she intimidates and defies her way through the Terran organizations, sparing no effort to achieve her goal. But what she does not know is that she is from one of the Darkovan clans who have psionic powers. She is from the Alton clan, whose special gift is that during a fit of anger, she can cast deadly mental energy bolts.  In the story, she is confronted by a bureaucrat who will not give in to her will, and she explodes in a rage, almost killing him with her bare hands and the mental energy bolts.

Unlike a Rand figure who would never change or apologize, Marjorie is changed by the revelation of her dangerous psychic powers and learns to work amicably with other people to continue the technical revolution on Darkover. Some of these story points may be inaccurate since I haven't read the story in ages. Note the Randian symbol of the dollar sign on her jacket. The "R" on her belt buckle stands for "Rearden," the name of the construction company she works with. Rearden was the steel works and metallic hero of Rand's "Atlas Shrugged."

Black ink on illustration board, 8" x 10", 1982.

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