an intelligent being
[< Greek elements meaning ‘wise being’; coined by Karen Anderson, wife of writer Poul Anderson, according to an email from Karen Anderson to this project]
Likewise with the psychology of intelligent species. Most sophonts indeed possess basic instincts which diverge more or less from man’s. With those of radically alien motivations we have little contact.
From Lunograd, the Hotel Universe challenges a galaxy: ‘No oxygen-breathing sophont exists for whom we cannot provide suitable accommodation.’
The book’s message seems to be that one ought to consider unhuman sophonts (‘animaloids’) one’s brothers; that is why a horse-like sophont, the one individualized alien in the book, is told ‘there, there, old fellow’ and patted on the neck.
Homo sapiens—just as every other known race of sophonts—was part of a chain of genetic and cultural uplifting that stretched back to the fabled early days of the galaxy.
She’d already told Grondr her misgivings about this ‘selling’ of a sophont.
We went wayaways to a place with ‘personal and private place for very important sophont’ stamped all over it in Intersign glyphs.
Interstellar cooperation and competition is based on music. It’s the one arena in which all the multiform and multi-skilled sophonts can find common ground.
The Cygnus Nine probe had reported in, and there was not only a habitable planet, but an intelligent species on it. That made her flip the aircraft up, let it do the piloting and take notice; that was only the second race of sophonts found so far, in scores of systems.
One lineage of avians has produced Epona’s sophont, the uther. Singularly the most fascinating physiological trait of the species is the interdependence of the parent and neonate.
Soon we have also picked up other famous personages from the series: David Falkayn…and dragon-like sophont Adzel.
P. Anderson 'The Trouble Twisters'
We found an article by Poul Anderson in which he credited Karen Anderson with coining the word: we also received email from Karen confirming this, so the first use in print of this word will be found somewhere amongst the works of Poul Anderson. We would like to verify the usage in the 1966 first edition of the Trouble Twisters, or in any earlier work by Anderson.
We received a cite from Mark McMcSweeny from a 1980 reprint of Poul Anderson's "Agent of the Terran Empire", in the 1951 story "Tiger by the Tail". However, the cite refers to races prominent in Anderson's stories from the 1970s (Ythrians, Merseians), so the use of "sophont" may be a 1980 insertion. We would like to know whether the word occurs in previous versions of the story, e.g. in the first edition of "Agent of the Terran Empire" (1965): Jesse Sheidlower checked the original publication of "Tiger by the Tail" in Planet Stories, January 1951, and the word does not appear there.
Last modified 2021-01-12 03:13:04
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.