Thursday, 21 April 2016

An Indefinite Number Of Earths

(What is wrong on this cover?)

The human mind has the extraordinary ability to attend to events on an indefinite number of Earths, only one of them real.

On Earth Real:

we celebrate the Easter Rising of 1916;
Britain debates its membership of the European Union;
the Queen of England celebrates her 90th birthday;
she is visited by the President of the United States;
I blog about Poul Anderson.

In two fictional timelines:

Manuel I proclaims the Terran Empire;
Lysander I is hailed, "Imperator."

How does Lysander compare with Manuel? I have yet to finish reading Prince Of Sparta by Jerry Pournelle and SM Stirling which ends when Lysander becomes Emperor. Lysander appears in a series of novels whereas Manuel appears in just one short story. Both futures histories show us pre-Imperial conflicts, the First Emperor and the later Empire. We expect continued global conflicts in our immediate future but not that they will be ended by an Empire.

Poul Anderson shows us events long after the Terran Empire and there is still time for Jerry Pournelle to show us events long after the Second Empire of Man. Will the Moties escape from their system? Will other intelligences be discovered? What other forms of interstellar organization will human beings devise? More importantly, what might happen that is completely unexpected? Poul Anderson shows us humanity spreading, diversifying, evolving and encountering new astronomical objects, including an unprecedented source of new wealth. A new history begins just as his Technic History ends.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I've tried to figure out what is "wrong" with this cover for THE LONG NIGHT collection. It's not one of the too few really good covers, but I can imagine it showing us Roan Tom and one of his wives standing in the midst of the ruins of the Terran Empire after it fell.

I frankly hope the UK decides to leave the Euro Union, because it has shown itself to be an increasingly corrupt and oppressive farce.

And congratulations on her Majesty reaching the age of 90! The length of her reign has been longer than those or her predecessors.

One difference between Manuel I and Lysander I is obvious: the former had to rise from as lowly a beginning as it was possible: a slave forced to serve non humans! Another difference is that Manuel Argos was already a mature man of 40 when we first see him in "The Star Plunderer," while Lysander was still a young man in his 20's. A third difference is that Manuel had to found a new state in the collapsed ruins of its predecessor, while Lysander came to govern a functioning, if EMBATTLED regime.

I certainly do expect wars and conflicts to continue around the world, unfortunately. But I would not absolutely rule out the possibility of some Napoleon type managing to conquer the world.

I think we should remember that Jerry Pournelle is in his eighties and has had serious health problems. Thus we should not be surprised if the amount of what he is able to write lessens.

Your comment about the Moties made me wonder, I know you have read THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE, but have you read Niven/Pournelle's THE GRIPPING HAND, its sequel? The problem both books posed and the answer eventually found was how to integrate the Moties into the Empire of Man with as little harm as possible to both races.

While I like the CoDominium series I have to concede it is not as varied as Poul Anderson's Technic Civilization stories.


Paul Shackley said...

I think that there is an error in the blurb. I thought that the characters were the narrator of "The Star Plunderer" and his fiancee. I did read THE GRIPPING HAND once but a long time ago. Good differences between the Emperors.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I took another look at the cover, this time at the blurb, which reads: "VAN RIJN SAW IT COMING FLANDRY LIVED THROUGH IT." And I disagree with the blurb on both points. Prescient as Nicholas van Rijn was, he didn't pretend to know how history would turn out nearly a thousand years after him. And Flandry certainly did not live thru the Long Night--because the Empire was still a powerful realm in his time.

Yes, the narrator of "The Star Plunderer" and his fiancee could have been pictured on the cover.

I really think THE GRIPPING HAND is well worth rereading. It's one of the many books I want to read again. And one thing to keep in mind is the increasingly relationship we see developing between Sir Kevin Renner and Horace Hussein Bury. Originally, Renner had been assigned to keeping an eye on Horace Bury. But as the years passed they became good friends.