Monday, 19 September 2016


Maybe all times are transitional, the only difference being whether we notice it or not? In any case, everything changes continually and Hegel tells us that quantitative changes become qualitative:

some complex, energetic molecules became self-replicating;
some cells combined;
sensitive organisms responding to environmental alterations became conscious;
some conscious organisms began to process their sensations as perceptions of discrete objects;
bipeds manipulating their environment began to think about it;
spontaneously uttered sounds became a means of communication;
matter has evolved from being hot to feeling hot to seeing a source of heat to thinking, "That is hot," to understanding heat to understanding its own mental processes!

These transformations are far more dramatic than any imagined by science fiction writers.

Some stories about David Falkayn are more overtly transitional than others. Transition is always apparent in individual lives even if not always in society and also there are cumulative processes, e.g.:

Falkayn himself progresses from apprentice to journeyman to Master Merchant in three stories;
he is a journeyman with Solar Spice & Liquor which, we already know from another previous story, is owned by Nicholas van Rijn;
however, Falkayn does not meet van Rijn until he has become a Master Merchant;
at that time, van Rijn introduces the novel concept of trade pioneer crews;
the crew led by Falkayn includes Adzel who, in another previous story, we saw as a student on Earth;
intelligent races like Ivanhoans and Ikranankans who are confined to a single planet later come together in the Supermetals Company founded by Falkayn;
the Valenderay supernova is a pivotal event for Merseia and therefore also, although no one realizes this yet, for Technic Civilization;
the Satan incident shows that Technic Civilization can be threatened from outside and also enriches Falkayn's team so that they no longer explore from economic necessity - although they still explore;
"Lodestar" and Mirkheim are explicitly about social transitions.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

The first part of this blog piece of your reminds me of similar texts in some of Poul Anderson's works. I myself would add that this only shows HOW life begins and adapts to changing environments. It does not give us the WHY of life, which is where myth, philosophy, religion, and theology comes in.