Sunday, 28 December 2014

Details And Waste

Athena Falkayn wears "...a necklace of fallaron amber." (Rise Of The Terran Empire, p. 216) "...and fallaron trees bloomed golden..." (p. 273) beside the Palomino River. It is possible that Poul Anderson, remembering that he had used the word "fallaron" once, decided to use it again but it is more likely that he had created an entire ecology for Hermes, that many details of that ecology did not make it into the text and that this is a detail that did appear twice. A similar detail for the planet Avalon is "livewell," a plant that is introduced to Earth and that has a street named after it in an Avalonian city.

War is wasteful not only of the lives of intelligent beings but also of all that they have built. The following dialogue drives this point home:

"'The enemy are concentrated in that stout stone building,' Adzel said. 'Our first move will be to neutralize it.'
"'Destroy, you mean?' John Falkayn said. 'oh, merciful Christ, no. The records, the mementos - half our past is in there.'
"'Your whole stinking future is here,' Chee snapped.
"Positioned, the artillery cut loose." (p. 274)

Of course Colonel Falkayn must choose his whole future over half his past but I hope that, by the twenty fifth century, such choices will have ceased to be necessary. Thus, although I enjoy reading the Technic History and admire its political realism as well as its creative imagination, I hope that we will build a better future than it on Earth and in space.

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