Follow TV Tropes

Following

History Literature / MethuselahsChildren

Go To



* DemocracyIsBad: Slayton Ford, the president of the world government, is privately willing to believe the Howards when they claim that their longevity is genetic, but is forced by overwhelming public pressure to intern and torture them because the public ''refuses'' to accept that fact. He ends up abandoning his position and escaping with them, but before the Howards came up with the idea of running like Israelites from Egypt, he was seriously considering ''sterilizing and/or executing every last one of them.'' He ends up joining them in exile as their de facto ''leader.'' Heinlein shows nothing but respect for a man who is prepared to ''re-enact the Holocaust'' for pretty much the same reasons as in reality(a minority is vilified by the majority), saying that it's simply ''democracy in action.'' The moral (typically for Heinlein) is that democracy is a terrible way to run things because it results in [[LowestCommonDenominator tyranny of the majority]].

to:

* DemocracyIsBad: Slayton Ford, the president of the world government, is privately willing to believe the Howards when they claim that their longevity is genetic, but is forced by overwhelming public pressure to intern and torture them because the public ''refuses'' to accept that fact. He ends up abandoning his position and escaping with them, but before the Howards came up with the idea of running like Israelites from Egypt, he was seriously considering ''sterilizing and/or executing every last one of them.'' He ends up joining them in exile as their de facto ''leader.'' Heinlein shows nothing but respect for a man who is prepared to ''re-enact the Holocaust'' for pretty much the same reasons as in reality(a reality (a minority is vilified by the majority), saying that it's simply ''democracy in action.'' The moral (typically for Heinlein) is that democracy is a terrible way to run things because it results in [[LowestCommonDenominator tyranny of the majority]].



* FinalSolution: Ford reluctantly accepts that the only solution to the Howard dilemma is to kill them all, even knowing he will be remembered as a terrible monster ... for depriving humanity of the Howards' non-existent secret. If he's lucky, he'll survive the aftermath and be sent into exile.

to:

* FinalSolution: Ford reluctantly accepts that the only solution to the Howard dilemma is to kill them all, even knowing he will be remembered as a terrible monster ... for depriving humanity of the Howards' non-existent nonexistent secret. If he's lucky, he'll survive the aftermath and be sent into exile.



* LongevityTreatment: The Howards are forced to leave earth when people become convinced they have one. [[spoiler: While they're gone earth does develop one based on blood replacement]]

to:

* LongevityTreatment: The Howards are forced to leave earth Earth when people become convinced they have one. [[spoiler: While they're gone earth gone, Earth does develop one based on blood replacement]]



* TheNeedsOfTheMany: It would be best if humans all had lifespans like the Howards' but the only way to achieve that would be a breeding program that would mean psychological death for all mankind. Exile isn't an option because sending the Howards anywhere on Earth isn't far enough and another planet only delays the problem for a few generations... genocide is the only option, as terrible as it is. The Howards are a cancer destroying the peace of the Covenant and society is about to got completely insane waiting for the non-existent LongevityTreatment. Ford reluctantly prepares to give the order knowing it will mean his own very painful destruction... then Lazarus comes along with [[TakeAThirdOption another option]].

to:

* TheNeedsOfTheMany: It would be best if humans all had lifespans like the Howards' but the only way to achieve that would be a breeding program that would mean psychological death for all mankind. Exile isn't an option because sending the Howards anywhere on Earth isn't far enough and another planet only delays the problem for a few generations... genocide is the only option, as terrible as it is. The Howards are a cancer cancer, destroying the peace of the Covenant and society is about to got get completely insane waiting for the non-existent nonexistent LongevityTreatment. Ford reluctantly prepares to give the order knowing it will mean his own very painful destruction... then Lazarus comes along with [[TakeAThirdOption another option]].



-->'''Ford:''' Death has been tolerable to me only because Death has been the Great Democrat, treating all alike. But now Death plays favorites. Zaccur Barstow, can you understand the bitter, bitter jealousy of the ordinary man of -- oh, say fifty -- who looks on one of your sort? Fifty years... twenty of them he is a child, he is well past thirty before he is skilled in his profession. He is forty before he is established and respected. For not more than the last ten years of his fifty he has really amounted to something. \\

to:

-->'''Ford:''' Death has been tolerable to me only because Death has been the Great Democrat, treating all alike. But now Death plays favorites. Zaccur Barstow, can you understand the bitter, bitter jealousy of the ordinary man of -- oh, say fifty -- who looks on one of your sort? Fifty years... twenty of them he is a child, he is well past thirty before he is skilled in his profession. He is forty before he is established and respected. For not more than the last ten years of his fifty he has really amounted to something. \\



* SleeperStarship: The ''New Frontiers'' was intended as a Generation Ship but the hundreds of thousands of Howards overtaxed the ship's life support and most had to go into cold sleep.

to:

* SleeperStarship: The ''New Frontiers'' was intended as a Generation Ship but the hundreds of thousands of hundred thousand Howards overtaxed the ship's life support and most had to go into cold sleep.

Added DiffLines:

* ToUnmasqueTheWorld: The long-lived Howards families vote to break their masquerade. This quickly proves to be a mistake as the short-lived masses refuse to believe that their longevity is hereditary and start imprisoning Howards to try and force them to reveal their "secret".

Added DiffLines:

* ClashOfEvolutionaryLevels: The regular humans aren't very pleased with the Howard Families' longevity, basically forcing the Howards to take the "ScrewThisImOuttaHere" option.


-->'''Zaccur:''' Do ''you'' hate me, Slayton Ford?
-->'''Ford:''' No. No, I cannot afford to hate anyone. But I can tell you this: had there been a secret, I would have it out of you if I had to tear you to pieces!

to:

-->'''Zaccur:''' Do ''you'' hate me, Slayton Ford?
-->'''Ford:'''
Ford?\\
'''Ford:'''
No. No, I cannot afford to hate anyone. But I can tell you this: had there been a secret, I would have it out of you if I had to tear you to pieces!



* UndeadTaxExemption: Many tricks are used by Howards to disguise their ages, including fiddling with records, posing as their own great-grandchildren, and more. What sets off the plot is the fact that these tricks are getting harder and harder to maintain over the years.

to:

* UndeadTaxExemption: Many tricks are used by Howards to disguise their ages, including fiddling with records, [[MyGrandsonMyself posing as their own great-grandchildren, great-grandchildren]], and more. What sets off the plot is the fact that these tricks are getting harder and harder to maintain over the years.

Added DiffLines:



Added DiffLines:

* MortalityPhobia: Mary Sperling, one of the oldest members of the LongLived Howard family, allows herself to be assimilated into an alien HiveMind because she's afraid of dying.


* KarmaHoudini: Slayton Ford was half a second away from ordering the Howard Families sterilized or executed to the last man, woman and child, as his constituency was going mad from being denied immortality. He takes Lazarus' alternative of interstellar exile, and even joins them as the mob would see what he had done as theft of a treasure the Howards were hoarding, but the man was essentially [[GodwinsLaw Hitler]]. And since the Howards tended to avoid politics, they are pathetic at large-scale administration - so he is quickly elected as civil head of the New Frontiers expedition.

to:

* KarmaHoudini: Slayton Ford was half a second away from ordering the Howard Families sterilized or executed to the last man, woman and child, as his constituency was going mad from on the verge of rioting, thinking they were being denied immortality. He takes Lazarus' alternative of interstellar exile, and even joins them as the mob would see what he had done as theft of a treasure the Howards were hoarding, but the man was essentially [[GodwinsLaw Hitler]]. And since the Howards tended to avoid politics, they are pathetic at large-scale administration - so he is quickly elected as civil head of the New Frontiers expedition.


* KarmaHoudini: Slayton Ford was half a second away from ordering the Howard Families sterilized or executed to the last man, woman and child, as his constituency was going mad from being denied immortality. He takes Lazarus' alternative of interstellar exile, and even joins them as the mob would see what he had done as theft of a treasure the Howards were hoarding, but the man was essentially [[GodwinsLaw Hitler]]. And since the Howards tended to avoid politics, they are pathetic at large-scale administration - so he is quickly elected as civil head of the New Frontiers expedition.



* WeAreAsMayflies: Poor Slayton Ford is an ordinary short-lived human forced to live among mature adults twice his age, and he initially suffers a crushing inferiority complex because of it. [[spoiler: This is later alleviated when his experience as a civil administrator, a role in which their tendency to avoid politics makes him far superior to any Howard, results in his election as civil head of the New Frontiers expedition.]]

to:

* WeAreAsMayflies: Poor Slayton Ford is an ordinary short-lived human forced to live among mature adults twice his age, and he initially suffers a crushing inferiority complex because of it. [[spoiler: This is later alleviated when his experience as a civil administrator, a role in which their tendency to avoid politics makes him far superior to any Howard, results in his election as civil head of the New Frontiers expedition.]]

Added DiffLines:

* NoodleIncident: Multiple references are made to the "2012 meeting of the Howard families" but no one will actually discuss what happened. This gag rolls on in to the sequel Literature/TimeEnoughForLove.


* TheseAreThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow: The second aliens that the ''New Frontiers'' colonists encounter are vastly superior, both technologically and mentally, to humans. Those humans who attempt to join their HiveMind are destroyed or [[GoMadFromTheRevelation driven mad]] by it, as it's too powerful for their psyches to withstand.
* WeAreAsMayflies: Poor Slayton Ford is an ordinary short-lived human forced to live among mature adults twice his age, and he suffers a crushing inferiority complex because of it.

to:

* TheseAreThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow: The second aliens that first met by the ''New Frontiers'' colonists encounter are kept more or less as pets by unseen intelligences vastly superior, both technologically greater than human. Slayton Ford volunteers to serve as the first human who meets such an intelligence directly, and mentally, to humans. Those humans who attempt to join their HiveMind are destroyed or [[GoMadFromTheRevelation driven mad]] by the shock nearly destroys his mind outright, inducing severe psychosis; he later gets over it, but can no longer remember anything about the experience which caused it, which his doctor regards as it's too powerful for their psyches a healthy adaptation to withstand.
an insuperable shock.
* WeAreAsMayflies: Poor Slayton Ford is an ordinary short-lived human forced to live among mature adults twice his age, and he initially suffers a crushing inferiority complex because of it.it. [[spoiler: This is later alleviated when his experience as a civil administrator, a role in which their tendency to avoid politics makes him far superior to any Howard, results in his election as civil head of the New Frontiers expedition.]]


* FasterThanLightTravel: Several iterations are used. The ''New Frontiers'' is intended to be a slower-than-light, [[GenerationShips generational colony ship]], but Andy Libby invents an inertialess "light pressure drive" that allows the ship to accelerate to near-lightspeed. The first journey to find a habitable planet occurs at a relativistic scale, but then the SufficientlyAdvancedAliens that they encounter on the second planet they visit show the PunyEarthlings how to build a true FTL drive. Their return trip to Earth is much, much faster.

to:

* FasterThanLightTravel: Several iterations are used. The ''New Frontiers'' is intended to be a slower-than-light, [[GenerationShips generational colony ship]], but Andy Libby invents an inertialess "light pressure drive" that allows the ship to accelerate to near-lightspeed. The first journey to find a habitable planet occurs at a relativistic scale, but then the SufficientlyAdvancedAliens that they encounter on that planet make it clear to the PunyEarthlings that they're not welcome by kicking them and their ship out at FTL speeds. And then the aliens on the second planet they visit show the PunyEarthlings teaches them how to build a true their own FTL drive. Their return trip to Earth is much, much faster.drives.


* SleeperStarship: The ''New Frontiers''.

to:

* SleeperStarship: The ''New Frontiers''.Frontiers'' was intended as a Generation Ship but the hundreds of thousands of Howards overtaxed the ship's life support and most had to go into cold sleep.

Added DiffLines:

* SleeperStarship: The ''New Frontiers''.


* LawfulNeutral: Ford's only concern is the good of all mankind.

Added DiffLines:

* FinalSolution: Ford reluctantly accepts that the only solution to the Howard dilemma is to kill them all, even knowing he will be remembered as a terrible monster ... for depriving humanity of the Howards' non-existent secret. If he's lucky, he'll survive the aftermath and be sent into exile.

Showing 15 edit(s) of 42

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report