Wednesday, 24 February 2016
The Three World Wars
Twentieth century science fiction had three kinds of scenarios:
(i) near future space travel and interplanetary colonization;
(ii) near future nuclear war destroying civilization;
(iii) combinations of aspects of (i) and (ii), e.g.:
civilization survives nuclear war as in Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic History, Maurai History, Twilight World, Shield and Vault Of The Ages;
some people got off Earth, e.g., onto Ray Bradbury's Mars, before the nuclear war;
space-based precautions against nuclear war - the Space Patrol in Robert Heinlein's Future History or the Lunar Guard in Anderson's Psychotechnic History.
Anderson's many works of science fiction seem to present each possible answer to every speculative question about aliens, telepathy, immortality, FTL, AI, time travel etc. In accordance with this apparently systematic approach, several, though not all, of Anderson's fictitious futures include World War III as a historical event.
For some other fictional treatments of nuclear war, see here.