The title of Damien Broderick’s sci fi story “This Wind Blowing, and this Tide” comes from the poem “My Boy Jack” by Rudyard Kipling.
The following verse is in the introduction in Damien Broderick’s sci fi story :
“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.”
— “My Boy Jack” by Rudyard Kipling (1915)
Credit and Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Boy_Jack_(poem)
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0
[Note: Rudyard Kipling wrote the poem after his son John disappeared during the Battle of Loos in WWI.
Kipling’s works are not in the public domain in the USA.
For the entire poem, Kipling’s biography and all his works, see: http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk]
Damien Broderick is a prolific and acclaimed Australian writer of science fiction and nonfiction. His stories have won the Aurealis award and the Ditmar Award multiple times. His accomplishments include:
2005 -2010: Founding science fiction editor of the Australian science magazine Cosmos.
2005: the Distinguished Scholarship Award of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts.
2010: the A. Bertram Chandler Memorial Award–World Science Fiction Convention.
His nonfiction futurist and science writings include :
The Spike (1997; revised 2001); The Last Mortal Generation (1999); and “Outside the Gates of Science, on the scientific evidence for some anomalous or paranormal phenomena” (2007).
A number of his short stories have been reprinted in Gardner Dozois’ “The Year’s Best Science Fiction” anthologies.
Damien Broderick’s “This Wind Blowing, and this Tide” is a short sci fi story, about the paranormal.
Reprinted in: 27th edition ,The Year’s Best Science Fiction: 27th Annual Collection” edited by Gardner Dozois, (c) 2010.
Reprinted on-line in “Clarkesworld Magazine – Science Fiction & Fantasy” in 2015.
“This Wind Blowing, and this Tide”
The story is set in the far future, on Titan, Saturn’s major moon.
Sensei Park or Sam, is an exceptionally gifted clairvoyant. He senses a topological anomaly under the frozen terrain of Titan. When the Navy excavates the site at the Huygens research station on Titan, they find a starship, covered with flower blossoms, within an impenetrable containment shield.
Sam is Korean. A Korean research institute, the Intelligent Dinosaurs Institute, various governments, and Camp Barsoom of Mars, are keen to access the interior of the starship.
Sam, and Meagle, a blind psychic, are asked to use their psychic abilities to probe the inside of the starship, and figure out a way to enter it. Meagle is a psychic with technological enhancements for sensing and imaging: his fingers are like very sensitive antennae and can probe beyond a barrier. His reactions, the information he gathers with his fingers, and his brain rhythms are processed and interpreted into holographic images, and transmitted to computers.
Sam watches from a research observation booth as Meagle, in a small cell with holographic equipment, probes the outside of the containment shield. His psychic sense indicates the flowers are still alive, and the ship is ancient — millions of years old.
Still on the outside of the shield, Meagle uses his psychic abilities to “enter” the spacecraft. He “sees” and “feels” his way to a figure seated in a chair. The transmitted holographic image is startling: The figure has a snout, deep-set hooded eyes, and its clawed hands are gripping the controls on the arm rests. And then another image appears, superimposed on the image of the dinosaurian alien. The second image is human. It is the image of Sam’s dead son, Song-Dam.
One of Sam’s extraordinary psychic abilities is that of “Quantum Entangling” of minds: He can superimpose his thoughts on another person’s mind. Sam has been thinking, with grief and deep sadness, of his son, Song-Dam, killed in a battle some years ago.
Is the saurian alien image a result of delusion? But no one really understands how “quantum entangling” of minds happens.
Sam believes that he can break the containment shield, and that would give access to the spacecraft, and the alien spacefarer. As Sam stands outside the containment shield, he thinks of a favorite poem, a line about flowers falling in a riverside village. And as he thinks of this, he sees the flower petals from the starship breaking free and floating up into the Titan atmosphere. The containment shield has collapsed, and the researchers can enter the spacecraft.
Sam weeps as he remembers his son, going fearlessly into battle. He thinks of the poem that he had come across many years ago. It was by an Englishman: about the loss of a son, and to be proud of that son that he had given to “that wind blowing and that tide” .
Sam watches the petals floating in the Titan atmosphere. He feels a sense of healing as he thinks of that alien father, millions of years ago, saying farewell to his son on Titan.