Thursday, 12 July 2012

Colorful Fictions Continued

The Green Lantern Corps is part of the DC Universe which also includes Superman and Batman. The Trader Team is part of Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilisation which also includes Nicholas van Rijn and Dominic Flandry. The DCU is bigger because older and multi-authored. However, the Technic History is impressive as a long narrative by a single author.

When comparing an Anderson character to a Green Lantern, it is appropriate also to mention Larry Niven, like Anderson an American sf writer, future historian and successor of Robert Heinlein.

The Joker from the DCU makes a guest appearance in Larry Niven's Known Space future history (although, when I first read Known Space, I had not yet got back into reading comics so I missed this explicit reference);

Niven wrote an article on Superman and plotted a Green Lantern story;

Niven's psychic detective and protectors have features of superheroes.

In fact, superheroes originated in sf, with Superman's scientifically rationalized extraterrestrial origin, then incorporated both fantasy, with Captain Marvel's supernaturally explained magical origin, and action-adventure fiction, with non-super powered masked avengers and costumed adventurers. The version of Green Lantern that has existed since 1960 defends not a single city, country or planet but an entire space sector and interacts with the GL's of neighboring sectors, all of whom take their orders from immortal Guardians of the Universe, or did the last time I looked although these scenarios can change and change again very quickly. Thus, this superhero series is more sfnal than most and was appropriate material for the application of Larry Niven's cosmic imagination.

Either this cover or another GL crowd scene features a Puppeteer GL. GL's are fearless whereas Niven's Known Space aliens the Puppeteers are cowardly unless insane so a Puppeteer GL must be mad indeed.

See "Comics And Science Fiction" on

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