Monday, 10 October 2016

Future And Past

HG Wells, Olaf Stapledon and Poul Anderson each wrote a fictitious history of the future and each also wrote about past history although in different ways.

The Time Machine (1895) summarizes the future of life on Earth as perceived by a time traveler from the nineteenth century.
The Shape Of Things To Come (1933) is, fictitiously, a dreamed future historical text book.
The Outline Of History (1920) is a world history.

Last And First Men (1930) is a future historical text book transmitted by a mentally time traveling Last Man into the brain of its twentieth century author who distorts most of what he receives and thinks that he is writing fiction.
Last Men In London (1932) is an assessment of past history from the perspective of Stapledon's future history.

The History of Technic Civilization (1951-1985) is a future history series in the tradition not of Wells or Stapledon but Heinlein.
The Time Patrol series (1955-1995) describes physical time travel to historical and prehistorical periods in the context of a fictitious future history different from the one in the Technic History or in any other future historical works by Anderson.

Thus, The Outline Of History, Last Men In London and the Time Patrol series are different kinds of works about the past.

Another Comparison
Wells describes a Martian invasion of Earth in an independent novel (1897).
Stapledon incorporates Martian invasions of Earth into his future history.
Anderson describes the economic conquest of Earth by militarily superior extrasolar humanoid aliens in an independent short story (1955).

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Commenting on your "Another Comparison": apparently you had Anderson's "Soldier From The Stars" in mind. Another example would be the same author's THE WAR OF TWO WORLDS (1959). What keeps this otherwise seemingly routine novel of alien invasion from Mars esp. interesting was the unusual twist PA put to the story. THE WAR OF TWO WORLDS might never be thought an SF classic up there with Wells' WAR OF THE WORLDS, but it was still interesting and well worth repeated reading.

And I was reminded of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's novel of alien invasion: FOOTFALL. In it we see the US President consulting SF authors (one of them plainly meant to be Robert Heinlein) on how best to handle the aliens!