Saturday, 2 November 2013

Lost Spaceships

I have identified a discrete period of Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic History. Between the invention of the hyperdrive in 2784 and the founding of the Stellar Union in 2900, there is a period of interstellar exploration and of lost spaceships. Spaceships are lost because of:

(i) trepidation vortices;
(ii) accidents.

Many ships are lost because of (i). We know of two such losses because of their consequences. The loss of the New Hope about 2800 led to the colony on Atlantis, discovered in 3100. The loss of the Traveler soon after 2784 led to the colony on Harbor and to the Nomads who survived the Stellar Union.

An accidental loss in 2825 led to two human generations growing up on the planet Khazak before that isolated community was able to re-establish space travel.

Because the date for the invention of the hyperdrive is not a round number, I suspect that it was given in the chronology published by Poul Anderson in Startling Stories in 1955. The Chronology in Starship, prepared by Sandra Miesel, is based in part on that original chronology but contains dates that are approximate and that were not regarded as binding on the author. Readers might find reasons to revise these dates slightly.

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