Friday, 28 November 2014

Interstellar Feudalism

Dominic Flandry reflects that the slowness of interstellar communication:

"...made a slow growth of feudalism, within the Imperial structure itself, inevitable. Of course, that would give civilization something to fall back on when the Long Night finally came."
-Poul Anderson, Captain Flandry: Defender Of The Terran Empire (New York, 2010).

These are the two themes of the Flandry series:

the Empire will fall;
there will be systems in place enabling at least some planetary systems to cope with the "Long Night."

In this story, Flandry hopes that Nyanza will "'carry on...[w]hen the Long Night comes for Terra...'" (p. 339) but we do not read about this planet in the Long Night, Allied Planets or Commonalty periods.

Poul and Karen Anderson's character, Gratillonius, starts to build feudalism after the Fall of the Roman Empire. See here. And, in another of Poul Anderson's imaginary worlds, Time Patrolmen must visit post-Roman Britain to prevent a divergent timeline.

These are three fictional universes with common themes: history and heroism.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I suggest as well that one dominant idea in the thought of Poul Anderson is that nothing merely human can last forever. Hence the need for things like feudalism to help at least some planets to survive after the Empire fell. An idea Sandra Miesel discussed at length in her monograph AGAINST TIME'S ARROW: THE HIGH CRUSADE OF POUL ANDERSON.