Yesterday, finally, I was able to see the movie Avatar. I was just stunned by the movie. I came away thinking “Geez, this should get the Best Picture award" even though I knew it probably wouldn’t. And indeed, it was more or less panned by the Academy. So what.
From publicity about the movie I knew it was going to "ring a bell..." and indeed as I began watching the movie develop I realized this was not a brand-new story line. For many, many, years beginning in the early 60s and through most of the 80s, my literary focus was on science fiction – I read all of the novels by the major writers and I read the large volumes of short stories that were culled from the Sci-Fi magazines.
I have forgotten details of so many of these stories, but one that always stuck in my mind had to do with an expedition to the planet Jupiter, with an atmosphere very hostile to human life, where they used humans to link with the indigenous life forms on the planet’s surface.
Of course I couldn’t remember the name of the story or who wrote it and it was making me rather depressed. But, hooray. This morning I did a Google search and I did find out what I needed to know....
It was Poul Anderson's 1957 sci-fi short story called "Call Me Joe." (Note that the short story has some plot differences from the movie, but this link could be construed as a "spoiler" if you have not seen Avatar)
Richard informs me that I have a mind like a steel trap. Yes, but I fear the teeth are becoming somewhat dull. I also remember another story about a giant turtle who controls the life of a planet (and no, it is not the Terry Pratchett novels about Disc World) and children who are being pursued by bad guys and the turtle saves them. But I can't remember the name of that one; eventually it will come.