James E. Gunn 'The Listeners' and the origin of the surname Gunn
I’ve just finished re-reading James E. Gunn’s 1972 science fiction novel ‘The Listeners’ which is about listening for extra-terrestrial intelligence, obviously it links to SETI concerns (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SETI_Institute). Although not brilliantly written the book raises useful ethical questions as to what we should do once contact has been made. It is a little dated; the amount of people smoking, the few female roles and the slow speeds of computers stand out given that the novel covers the period 2025 to 2118.
But it’s with the surname Gunn I am interested. Given Clan Gunn’s origin is of a non-kindred tribe of original settlers of northern mainland Scotland (see http://clangunn.weebly.com/real-origin-of-the-clan-gunn.html) I am not axiomatically related to James E. Gunn even though we share the same surname. So noting Professor Celeste Ray’s point, discussed in an earlier entry, that clan society membership is so one can ‘share the successes of those with a common name’, these shared successes are inapplicable for Gunns as for them a shared surname is not a genealogical link; a real family tree is required for that.
Gunn is but a name which outsiders applied to the original settlers...