Friday, 23 September 2016

Between Fictions And Myths

Some characters come to be generally known about among readers of sf without becoming universally known modern myths. The Campbell future historians are Heinlein, Asimov, Blish and Anderson.

Heinlein's "Man Who Sold The Moon" is DD Harriman. The Senior among his "Methuselah's Children" is Lazarus Long and the singer of his "The Green Hills of Earth" is Rhysling. Anderson's Anson Guthrie matches Harriman and takes his first name from Heinlein's middle name. Anderson has two immortals, Hugh Valland and Hanno, and Valland is also a Rhysling equivalent. Magister Lazarus is a fiction within the fiction of Anderson's Operation Luna.

Asimov's (maybe) memorable characters are:

Susan Calvin, robopsychologist;
Elijah Bailey, detective;
Daneel Olivaw, robot;
Hari Seldon, psychohistorian.

Like Seldon, Anderson's Valti creates a predictive science of society whereas I think that Anderson's Desai surpasses Seldon as a plausible theoretician of the rise and fall of civilizations. Anderson shows us an unemployed robot and his fictional detective is Trgve Yamamura.

Blish's most memorable character has to be John Amalfi, Mayor of the flying city of New York. The nearest equivalent in other works is the captain of any large spaceship.

Anderson's most memorable (?) characters have to be:

Nicholas van Rijn, flamboyant interstellar merchant;
David Falkayn, van Rijn's protege;
Dominic Flandry, science fictional James Bond;
Manson Evereard, Time Patrolman;
Grallon, the last King of Ys (with Karen Anderson).

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Except possibly for R. Daneel Olivaw, none of Asimov's most "memorable" characters truly stand out for me. Heinlein's D.D. Harriman and Lazarus Long plus all of the Anderson characters you listed have more life, color, and force in them than Asimov's creations. Probably the most interesting Asimov characters were his "villains": Bel Riose, last great general of the First Galactic Empire and the Mule.