Friday, 14 October 2016

Grudges And Grievances

The bearing of a grudge or grievance is a traditional motivator for a fictional villain. In Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization, there are two aggrieved individuals whose earlier lives we do not see:

Benoni Strang resents his upbringing on Hermes;
Fenross resents his earlier encounters with Flandry -

- and two embittered species whose earlier experiences we do see:

the Baburites resent their defeat by a representative of the Polesotechnic League;
the Merseians resent the help that they receive from the League.

One of Nicholas van Rijn's employees outwits the Baburites; another helps Merseia.

Strang organizes the Baburites to occupy Hermes. Fenross tries to get Flandry killed by Merseians. In that sense, Fenross and the Merseians are almost collaborators - just as Doyle and Moriarty collaborate to (try to) kill Holmes.

The Babur War turns out to be the League's first civil war, inflicting massive and permanent damage on the organization. Merseia and Terra wear each other down - we think. At least, there is no sign of Merseian dominance after the Terran Empire has fallen.

Thus, the League has its own problems and bequeaths problems to the Empire. Massive conflicts motivate Anderson's future history.

6 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    For individuals and even entire nations to hold grudges and grievances is all too plausible! One of the most notorious examples of the latter (alluded to by Anderson himself) was how many, many people in Germany bitterly resented their defeat in WW I. This sense of anger and frustration helped to undermine the legitimacy of the Weimar Republic (because it was considered a foreign imposition) and lead to the rise to power of the National Socialists.

    I have scant sympathy for Benoni Strang. What we see mentioned of the slights and disappointments he endured in his earlier life does not seem to amount to more than what just about everybody in advanced nations have to put put with. Certainly NOTHING which justified his actions on Hermes.

    Agree with what you said about Fenross. I would add that Flandry ENJOYED the dangerous missions Femross kept sending him out to resolve. No nine to five office job with a guaranteed pension for me, thank you very much, was Flandry's view!

    I dunno, for an ENTIRE race like the Baburites to resent being outwitted over a single, relatively minor matter like bluejack seems rather far fetched. But I don't deny that being thwarted in this matter can cause resentment.

    The hauteur seen among many Merseian leaders which, allied perhaps with ideas springing from the Demonists mentioned in "Day of Burning," could lead to the rise of the ideology of racial supremacy which dominated the Roidhunate.

    Sean

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    Replies
    1. Sean,
      Check RISE OF THE TERRAN EMPIRE, p. 46. Remember the Baburites are collectivist.
      Paul.

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  2. Kaor, Paul!

    Do you mean the bit near the beginning of Chapter II of MIRKHEIM where Babur openly claimed possession of the source of super metals everybody wanted? It's on page 35 of my trade copy of RISE OF THE TERRAN EMPIRE.

    Sean

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    Replies
    1. Sean,
      Near end of Chapter I.
      Paul.

      Delete
    2. Sean,
      I thought all TECHNIC CIVILIZATION SAGA editions had the same pagination. Otherwise, I would have been more specific.
      Paul.

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    3. Kaor, Paul!

      Darn! I check the end of Chapter I of MIRKHEIM later, when I have more time.

      No, no, different editions of the same book can have different paginations. For example, what are called "trade paperbacks" in the US are larger than pocket size paperbacks, and come with varying page numbers. That's why I prefer to use chapter and section numbers, where possible, when citing or quoting a text.

      Sean

      Delete