Literature Case Study – Donald Moffitt [4w5]

Type: 4w5 [so /sp ?]
Here I’m continuing a full set of type analyses, picking up the other ‘wings’ of the 9 main types. Donald Moffitt is another SF author I particularly like, whose type I actually had a lot of trouble determining: he is particularly interesting in that harder SF isn’t normally particularly 4ish. I had initially considered 9 before settling on 4, based partly on Si indicators and partly on the fairly “warm” feel of e.g. his Genesis series, a Utopian society without war or the like. His work is not specifically interesting like some of the specific works in some of the earlier authors (like Louise Cooper or Michael Ende’s ‘spiritual journey’ type works) but is interesting just as a difficult case, for purposes of looking at subtler ways type shows up.
His most notable SF works are the “Second Genesis” series – The Genesis Quest + Second Genesis which are extremely “hard” SF ( Arthur C. Clarke having commented that he had the grasp of science of a professional scientist); the genetics as well as the astronomy looks fairly robust (I say looking at it as someone who has an Honours degree in genetics).
In these, in the far future, aliens in another galaxy intercept a radio transmission containing the human genome, plus technological and cultural information, which they use to recreate humans, millions of years after the extinction of the species. The new humans are looked on with a peculiar pity by the aliens, who have a thousand-year lifespan (before reproducing) and who communicate virtually mind-to-mind with a touch-based language that humans can’t physically learn. Eventually the humans discover the secret of immortality that was in a final addendum to the message, and start returning to Earth.
(By contrast, Moffitt’s earlier works are apparently very different – his “Baroness” series being basically about a female James Bond. Without reading these, it is difficult to comment, though reportedly they have a lot more gratuitious sex and violence, which is interesting in contrast to the Genesis books; the former being an attempt at making something trashy and popular, while the non-violence of the latter may be part of constructing a utopia. While he later admitted writing these, he initially did so under a pseudonym, so possibly he wasn’t entirely comfortable with them if not really an ‘sx’ type).

Some specifically 4 traits that are apparent:
*strong interest in art and music. A number of his short stories deal with such e.g. “The Beethoven Affair” has time travel companies attempting to procure a 10th Beethoven symphony, “The Affair of the Phlegmish Master” deals with alternate world travel to get a Vermeet portrait, opposed by those with a financial interest in there not being more art by past masters. Music and art / cultural themes are also fairly central to his Genesis Quest /Second Genesis novels.
*telepathy: The Nar ‘Great Language’ here gives them a sort of ‘racial unity’, which is perhaps comparable to the idea of the “Unity” in e.g. Julian May’s work – a social joining at a deep level. Gurdjieff’s chief feature of “extreme individuality” may relate to 4, or even 4w5 specifically. This seems like its a topic interesting to 4w5s particularly; potentially similar themes may also show up in 9s e.g. Robert Silverberg [9w8] has telepathic networks as a sort of theme in a few novels [Downward to the Earth, Starbourne].
*envy: seen somewhat in how characters interact with each other (protagonism Bram vs. Olan Byr who gets his original girlfriend, before conveniently dying of old age before the second book despite childhood friends of the protagonism much older not doing so…); also, in how the aliens are significantly better than humans. “Shame” appears in where e.g. Bram has his plan to fly back to Earth’s home galaxy fairly savagely deconstructed by a physicist Smythe, as well as growing estrangement between the protagonist and his alien “touch brothers” as they grow up. A 4-ish feeling of disaffection for mundane work shows in Bram’s meh-ness toward his job of advanced bioengineering.
*futility and drama: Moffitt’s universe is a fairly cruel one, just by virtue of obeying hard SF rules. While characterization is not super deep, It generally pulls few punches, and so drama factor is reasonably high – the protagonist’s foster-father killed by bad guys, and the friendly aliens’ whole galaxy eventually destroyed by converging black holes – although the characters are not particularly deep.
*”originality”: the humans feel imperfect and out-of-place in the Nar universe, planning to return home. There is a contrast between recreated humans who are basically pets, and “Original Man” who are demigods, having done things like use the output of whole stars to send their Message.
Immortality appears as a theme here; this is interesting in that its not particularly a 4 theme, generally, though something a 5 (or other fear type) would definitely find interesting. Moffitt was already 56 when first writing the book, however.

Jungian Functions: overall Ti is probably good, and probably Ne (a fair degree of imagination is seen in terms of construction of alien biotech and various ideas/ big concepts). Si however seems reasonably strong as well; this comes through in both his various artistic interests, while the Nar seem to be ‘introverted sensation’ monsters, who communicate and function using touch as their primary sense. The main character often solves problems by being particulalarly able to read alien touch-language and/or notice details of expression or sensory details. Neither inferior-Fe nor inferior Te are really that apparent – characters e.g. the PCs foster father do appear quite warm (…in retrospect, obviously so its more of an impact when he dies…), while problem-solving is reasonably competent [if this isn’t Ne rather than Te]. (you could argue about the practicality of riding a giant tree between galaxies at near-light-speed for 37 million years outside-time in the sequel; I give him points for effort). Age, again, may be a factor in having quite stronger lower functions.

Similar authors: Julian May’s attitude to utopia in Saga of the Exiles (“Its a utopia and we’re bored”, leading to people choosing exile) is perhaps similar. Vonda N. McIntyre would be probably another 4w5 (a geneticist); in contrast to Moffitt, May and McIntyre’s characters generally appear much more emotional or volatile, and both (particularly McIntyre) are more prone to ‘misery tourism’ where plots are overtly designed to have characters be emotionally tortured (Moffitt does this a bit of course, and its not necessarily 4-specific really so much as something 4s just take a little further). Its not impossible (given overall similar functions) that Moffitt would be actually a 5w4, rather than 4w5; certainly the wing is heavy. Overall scientific knowledge and conceptual processing is much better than, say, Ray Bradbury, another 4w5, although Bradbury shows a lot more negative 5 traits – cynicism, detachment clashing with relationships, some paranoia, etc. Compare the earlier Clark Ashton Smith post for a 4w3 comparison point.


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