Saturday, 16 April 2016

Myths Ancient And Modern

Homer and the poets, i.e., an epicist and some dramatists - the Greek equivalents of Moses and the prophets -, re-expressed ancient myths whereas Olaf Stapledon, a successor of HG Wells, intended his future history to be a modern myth. Stapledon's Last Men, Wells' Time Machine and Poul Anderson's Tau Zero are indeed modern myths.

Homer described gods in ancient times whereas Stapledon and Anderson describe god-like beings in remote futures. Stapledon compared his time-traveling Neptunian observers of the Great War to the Homeric gods observing, and intervening in, the Trojan War. Anderson's Time Patrolmen intervene on ancient and medieval battlefields and in London during World War II. The World Wars, history to us, were speculative fictions in works by Wells.

Thus, we can contemplate:

the Homeric Olympus and Trojan War;
the Biblical narrative from Genesis to Apocalypse;
wars throughout history and the twentieth century;
Wells' fictional twentieth century and our real one;
Wellsian, Stapledonian and Andersonian time travelers;
the Time Traveler's Further Vision;
Stapledon's Last Men on Neptune;
Anderson's time dilation and cosmic cycle;
Anderson's Genesis - a new beginning in a geological future.

That is quite a lot to contemplate. Please give me a moment here.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

The thing about Anderson's novel GENESIS, besides the Biblical overtones of the very name itself, which sticks in my mind was mankind in future ages felt so useless and powerless that the race chose to become voluntarily extinct. And then Gaia, the AI controlling Earth, "recreated" the human race by means of stored DNA. And the question the AI/download sent from the AIs among the stars to investigate Earth asked: was it RIGHT of Gaia to counteract the human race's decision to become extinct?

Truly cosmic speculations by Poul Anderson even in his old age! His creative powers were not waning but had remained easily equal to his best efforts of the past.