Saturday, 29 October 2016

Dating A Future History Series

Possible clues in the texts:

years AD;
year numbers in some other style of dating, e.g., Asimov's GE;
a series character's age might be stated in some installments;
the narrator might indicate how much time, in round numbers, has elapsed between major events or periods of the history.

Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization:

presents no AD dates after the opening installment;
creates no new style of dating;
does state some of the characters' ages;
sometimes mentions numbers of centuries.

I think that this makes it impossible to compile a Chronology of Technic Civilization in years AD. At most, it is possible to try to relate the fictitious historical events to each other:

Falkayn is on Ikrananka less than four hundred years after the invention of the hyperdrive;
the Babur War occurs one hundred years after the Council of Hiawatha;
the Ythrian War occurred two hundred years before the Aenean rebellion;
the Terran Empire had existed for over four hundred years before the Starkad affair.

There may be other such indications. Merely for the purpose of constructing a Chronology, we might call the year of the invention of the hyperdrive 1 HD, then calculate dates for later events from this base date? The length of time between 2055 AD and 1 HD remains unknown.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I have my doubts that Technic Civilization, springing directly as it does from the Western, would abandon the BC/AD era dating system. After all Christianity continued to remain, it seems, the most numerous and widely dispersed of human faiths. And that too would encourage keeping the BC/AD dating system. Naturally, of course, planets colonized by humans would use calendars adapted to the actual lengths of days and the times it took for planets to orbit their stars in a local year.


Paul Shackley said...

I agree that Technic civilization would keep the BC/AD dating system. However, all that we can do is try to calculate the periods of time between events in the Technic History. We do not know what years AD the events would occur in.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Of course I agree with you. The Chronology worked out by Sandra Miesel and which I revised contains dates which can only be mostly approximate.

However, in "Time Lage," a non Technic story, Poul Anderson gave us a rare example of how he could use precise dates when he chose to do so. The mostly Finnish settled colony on the planet Vaynamo used a a calendar dating years A.C.C., "From the Founding of the Colony."

Poul Anderson preferred not to use dates because doing risked making his stories quickly obsolete. I think he worked out a definite timeline for his Psychotechnic Institute stories, but I doubt he published it. Again, the dates we have for that series were Sandra Miesel's approximations.