Friday, 15 April 2016

Interactive SF

The Internet has transformed the way I read sf. It has become interactive. My criterion for reading or continuing to read a text is: does this text provide material for posting on Poul Anderson Appreciation? For this to happen, the text must be either written by Anderson or comparable to works by Anderson. Fortunately, the body of his works is so vast and comprehensive that it can become a prism through which to view sf as a whole.

I am currently reading The Prince by Jerry Pournelle and SM Stirling. As it happens, I do not share the authors' apparent fascination with the details of military organization and technology. This is not what I read sf for. However, there are plenty of parallels and points of comparison with other future histories, including the several written by Anderson.

There is an apparent assumption that, for the foreseeable future, society will be wracked by conflicts requiring military solutions. I think that technology and education make other kinds of solutions possible. Anderson's later future histories show society transcending current problems - although, of course, going on to find others.

I will continue to read The Prince because I have become interested in what happens to the characters. Sparta does not sound like another planet. Guerillas living off the land eat pheasant, rabbit, duck or venison! But there is a science fictional explanation: Sparta has been terraformed and seeded with a Higher Mammal Package.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I'm currently rereading parts of Poul Anderson's collection STARSHIP. After that I will be hesitating over Allen Steele's ARKWRIGHT, JRR Tolkien's THE STORY OF KULLERVO, or Pournelle/Stirling's GO TELL THE SPARTANS.