Sunday, 20 April 2014

Back To The Future History II

Two superb passages outline the Polesotechnic League period of the History of Technic Civilization:

two pages beginning, "It is a truism that the structure of a society is basically determined by its technology..."
- Poul Anderson, The Van Rijn Method (New York, 2009), pp. 145-146 AND David Falkayn: Star Trader (New York, 2010), pp. 1-2;

two pages beginning, "'The world's great age begins anew...'"
-The Van Rijn Method, pp. 555-556.

The "It is a truism..." passage is part of the text of the original Nicholas van Rijn story, "Margin of Profit," and is quoted as an Introduction to a later van Rijn story, "Territory." However, there are some textual differences:

"Automation and the mineral wealth of the Solar System made the manufacture of most goods cheap. The cost of energy nosedived when small, clean, simple fusion units became available. Gravitics led to the hyperdrive, which opened a galaxy to exploitation. This also provided a safety valve. A citizen who found his government oppressive could often emigrate elsewhere, an exodus - the Breakup, as it came to be called - that planted liberty on a number of worlds. Their influence in turn loosened bonds upon the mother planet."
- The Van Rijn Method, p. 145.

"Automation made manufacturing cheap, and the cost of energy nose-dived when the proton converter was invented. Gravity control and the hyperdrive opened a galaxy to exploitation. They also provided a safety valve: a citizen who found his government oppressive could usually emigrate elsewhere, which strengthened the libertarian planets; their influence in turn loosened the bonds of the older world."
David Falkayn: Star Trader, p. 1.

The wealth of the Solar System is edited out but is undeniably still present.
The proton converter replaces fusion units.
Gravitics leading to hyperdrive becomes gravity control and hyperdrive.
The Breakup is edited out but remains part of the History.
There is maybe a slightly nuanced difference between "liberty" and "libertarian"!

Here are two different accounts of the nature of the League:

"The powerful companies might be in competition, but their magnates had the wit to see that, overriding this, they had a need to cooperate in many activities, arbitrate disputes among themselves, and present a united front to the demands of the state - any state."
- The Van Rijn Method, p. 146.

"The powerful companies joined together to squeeze out competition, jack up prices, and generally make the best of a good thing."
- David Falkayn: Star Trader, p. 2.

These read like two accounts of a single process but from opposed political perspectives. There are other minor verbal differences between the two versions of the passage.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I would say, rather, that the text quoted from page 146 of Baen Books THE VAN RIJN METHOD clearly refers to the earlier history of the Polesotechnic League up to the early life of Nicholas van Rijn. And the text quoted from DAVID FALKAYN: STAR TRADER applies to the time when the League was becoming corrupted by cartelization and increasingly short sighted greed. A corruption we see more clearly in "Lodestar" and MIRKHEIM.