Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Comparing Empires

The more I learn about Niven and Pournelle's Empire of Man, the more I prefer Anderson's Terran Empire. In just one year:

there have been more revolts in the Trans-Coal Sack Sector;

a former colony and an armed outie system have allied against the Empire;

the population of the militarily occupied New Chicago resents Imperial paternalism;

the Viceroy must "...get on with the reconquest of Trans-Coalsack." (Mote, p. 455)

Must he? Why should outies oppose the Empire unless because the Empire threatens to incorporate them? Surely the purposes of extrasolar colonization are to:

travel far beyond the reach of any home-based tyranny;
preserve cultural identity;
reestablish freedom;
ensure human diversity;
spread humanity through so much space that it cannot possibly destroy itself or be destroyed.

The Terran Empire grows to a defensible size and no further whereas the Empire of Man aims to reunite all of humanity under one government by force if necessary. (p. 4)

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Yes, I agree in preferring Poul Anderson's Terran Empire--because it was content to expand only till it reached a defensible size and then stopped. Altho there were times when the need to thwart Merseian intrigues compelled the Empire to annex worlds like Jihannath and Altai. But these were reluctant exceptions and did not contradict what Chunderban Desai said about the Imperium knowing there were limits to what it could wisely do.

By comparison, Niven/Pournelle's Second Empire is much more bellicose and aggressive.