Wednesday, 16 March 2016
In Jerry Pournelle's and SM Stirling's "The Children's Hour," Captain Jonah Matthieson, a Belter, thinks that flatlanders have nothing useful to do for most of their lives. Matthieson does something useful. In his small Dart spaceship, the UNSN Catskinner, he fights Kzinti Vengeful Slashers. (UN Darts sound like Terran Imperial Meteors.)
"Earth's witless hordes were of little help to Sol's military effort. Most of them were a mere drain on resources - not even useful as cannon fodder in a conflict largely fought in space." (Man-Kzin Wars II, p. 143)
It is understandable that a military man thinks like this. My response to Matthieson would be:
not all of the hordes are witless;
even the witless are human beings and can lead meaningful lives;
they are the people whom you are defending.
I think that a species like Larry Niven's kzinti or Poul Anderson's Merseians is highly implausible - aliens will be alien - but I certainly agree that mankind will have to be on its guard when there is First Contact. I CAN BE WRONG! (That needed to be written in capitals.) Questions about mass unemployment and the meaning of life have been discussed here before and will be again. In fact, I need to read more opinions differing from my own. Thank you to regular contributors. You know who you are.