Saturday, 16 April 2016

Associations Of Ideas

Each post might discuss a currently read work or alternatively follow a chain of association indirectly suggested by such a work. Thus, one recent chain of association led from war to Homer to myths to cosmological sf, all of them relevant to Poul Anderson.

Go Tell The Spartans by Jerry Pournelle and SM Stirling has surprised us, e.g., with references to a Grand Survey and to Marius. While describing a battle, Pournelle and Stirling alternate between points of view on both sides which is a good narrative technique. I remain interested in the progress and eventual outcome of the battle although not necessarily in every detail of the combat. However, I expect to come across further references leading to interesting chains of association. These are unpredictable but can nevertheless be relied on to occur.

CS Lewis complained about sf writers who take us off Earth only to show us the kinds of events that we can find on Earth and Brian Aldiss made this adverse criticism of Poul Anderson. See here. Contra Aldiss, Anderson does sometimes show us the unEarthly but Pournelle's CoDominium History remains more pedestrian. Mercenaries and guerillas fight with familiar kinds of weapons, with some equipment carried on mules, on a terraformed planet that has even been seeded with Terrestrial mammals. Anderson's Dominic Flandry, flying on an antigrav unit, helps Starkadian Tigeries against the sea trolls whose submarine is pulled by large fish and who must emerge from the water in their equivalent of spacesuits. Thus, a battle at sea but in an exotic setting.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I think it's only right to suggest that I don't find terraforming of some of the planets we see in the CoDominium timeline that implausible. Of COURSE terraformers would introduce Terran animals as well as plants. That said, I do agree, speaking from memory, that Pournelle's depictions remains somewhat more "pedestrian," esp. of planets.