Monday, 16 September 2013

Technate Civilization

Poul Anderson's The Long Way Home (St Albans, Herts, 1975) presents a new combination of familiar elements.

(i) Politicians are now called "'...psychotechnical administrator[s]...'" (p. 41).

(ii) There are weapons that can completely disintegrate matter. (I have just encountered this idea in Anderson's story of the same era, "The Disintegrating Sky".)

(iii) The seven foot tall security men and bodyguards are cloned (chromosome duplicated), exogenetically grown slaves.

(iv) The Commercial Society has some similarities to the Polesotechnic League, the Kith and the Nomads:

the Society is recruited from all planets and races;
it conducts most interstellar trade, sometimes from planets unknown to the Technate;
it trades in luxuries but also in industrial materials as planets exhaust their resources;
Society personnel spend their lives in large spaceships;
they have distinctive laws, customs and language and no external allegiance;
their chief factor at Sol describes himself as "'...a lonely old man.'" (p. 44)

The astronauts from five thousand years earlier must find their way among the competing powers of the Technate, the Centaurians and the Society. I remember that the novel ends with a surprise revelation about the balance of power but do not remember what the surprise was.

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