Based on a short story by seven-time Hugo Award winner, three-time Nebula Award winner and Science Fiction Grand Master Laureate Harlan Ellison ("A Boy and His Dog," "Star Trek"). Story of despised minorities forever adrift in the darkness of outer space. As a last resort born out of their loneliness and despair they are forced to make an ominous pact with those responsible for their plight, in the hope that they will finally be offered refuge at home on Earth. Written by
Did You Know?
In her discussion of Malthus, Annie says, "Too many people on Earth. No place to stand. The sheep look up." Scriptwriter Harlan Ellison
was likely thinking of the 1972 dystopian science fiction novel by English author John Brunner
entitled "The Sheep Look Up." The phrase comes from the poem "Lycidas" by Engish writer John Milton
: "The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed, But swoln [swollen] with wind, and the rank mist they draw, Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread: Besides what the grim Wolf with privy paw Daily devours apace, and nothing said, But that two-handed engine at the door Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more." Ellison got it slightly wrong: the problem with the sheep (to overlook Milton's political and religious subtexts) is not that there are too many of them, but that they are starving, and with starvation come disease and the wolves that can easily prey upon them. The shepherd (the "two-handed engine") can't feed them, but can only try to fend off the wolf. Science fiction author Henry Kuttner
also took a title from this verse for his 1955 story "The Two-Handed Engine," co-written with his wife C.L. Moore
; that story is very different from Ellison's, but shares the themes of a minority of people who may be wronged, and of guilt. See more
[an airlock enters and Barney Curran enters. He has a friendly face and wears white regimentals
Hello. I was sent from Earth Central... to make you a really terrific offer.
[the mutants are watching him in twitchy, grunting cynicism
My name's Curran. And you must be the Captain.
[...] See more