Friday, 22 April 2016

Dissolutions And Transitions

In Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization, the Solar Commonwealth dissolves off-stage, between stories. A new installment, really an earlier-written short story incorporated into the future history, begins with Earth regularly raided by alien slavers and ends when an escaped slave proclaims the Terran Empire.

By contrast, in Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium future history, the CoDominium disintegrates before our eyes. The Grand Senate dissolves with many areas too unstable to appoint new Senators. However, a small group of Senators reconvenes in the Chamber, declares the adjournment invalid and passes partisan resolutions that are successfully resisted. On Sparta, Lysander is proclaimed commander, in Latin imperator, which also means "Emperor."

Thus, we have here two transitions to interstellar imperialism. In the CoDominium History, I was glad when Niles resigned from the murderous rebel cause, but apart from this, I felt that the protracted struggle had become too protracted and I finally did lose interest in the ultimate fates of the principal characters. The rebel commander will still be tracked down, I think?

That Senatorial Rump reconvening and claiming to be a legitimate Senate has a fine fin de siecle feel, like James Blish's demons winning Armageddon and not yet realizing that their very victory has changed all the rules. I look forward to reading Poul Anderson's and SM Stirling's solo contributions to the next era of the history, War World.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I think I understand why you are not as interested in all of the nuts and bolts of war that we see in Pournelle/Stirling's GO TELL THE SPARTANS and PRINCE OF SPARTA. Altho I remember finding such details interesting.

However, you are more inclined to favor SF which is more philosophical, such as the works of Olaf Stapledom or Poul Anderson's GENESIS.


Paul Shackley said...