Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Future Politics In Anderson And Others

I suggested here that, in sf, we enjoy the familiar in the exotic. What of future politics? Wells has a World State. Heinlein has a Federation from which the US secedes when it becomes a theocracy. Decisions of the Advisory Board in Poul Anderson's Terran Empire will affect interstellar, inter-species relations into an indefinite future. In fact, might future politicians debate not only immediate policies but also the direction of evolution and the nature of humanity?

In Julian May's Galactic Milieu Trilogy, if the Human Polity merges fully with the telepathic Galactic Milieu, will human beings lose their individuality? Asimov's Second Foundation and Anderson's Psychotechnic Institute try to direct not only the social but also the psychological development of humanity. Asimov's planetary consciousness, Gaia, aims to supersede the Foundations by becoming a galactic consciousness able to resist (unlikely) extra-galactic invasion.

More on this later.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

One of my letters to Poul Anderson was a long discussion of the administrative structure of his Terran Empire. In it I suggested the Policy Board consisted of two groups: Lord Advisors who concentrated not on overseeing particular ministries or agencies, but on formulating the general policies for the Empire as a whole. The second group of Lord Advisors headed ministries which were so important that the ministers were ex-officio members of the Board such as the War and Treasury ministers, and the minister for Extra Imperial Affairs (foreign affairs).

And I have read Julian May's SAGA OF PLIOCENE EXILE and GALACTIC MILIEU books. And, yes, there were many on Earth who resisted or opposed being "merged" in the Galactic Milieu precisely from fear of human individuality being lost.

I finished reading Poul Anderson's MOTHER OF KINGS last week and I'm currently reading ONWARD,DRAKE!, a Festchrift in honor of David Drake. S.M. Stirling contributed an essay on how he and Drake collaborated on the books they wrote together. I would like to think PA would have contributed something himself if he had lived long enough to do so.