Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Many Novels

A Heinlein-model future history is a series of short stories and novels set in successive periods of a fictitious timeline. Heinlein's seminal Future History includes just two novels, as does Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic History, modeled directly on Heinlein's.

However, Anderson's longer, not pre-planned but organically grown, History of Technic Civilization includes twelve novels - or indeed fourteen if the longest of the shorter Flandry stories are considered long enough to qualify as novels.

Nicholas van Rijn appears in three novels and David Falkayn in two of those three whereas Dominic Flandry appears in six (or eight). But that still leaves three others.

The Day Of Their Return is a sequel to the third Flandry novel, refers to Flandry and introduces two characters whom he meets later. However, the remaining two novels are set in periods when the recurring characters are not alive. The People Of The Wind features a descendant of both van Rijn and Falkayn but precedes Flandry whereas The Night Face succeeds Flandry by several centuries.

There are also eleven shorter works that share no characters with any other installment of the History. Thus, any impression that the Technic History is merely the van Rijn/Falkayn and Flandry series strung together is mistaken. This future history has considerably more content and substance than might be thought from a cursory glance.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I think WE CLAIM THESE STARS! and THE PLAGUE OF MASTERS are the two shorter Flandry are the ones you think could be considered novels. They are both well over a hunred pages in length!


Paul Shackley said...

Yes and 100+ pages makes them novels by my rule of thumb even if they are considered less substantial than some of the other works classified as novels.