Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Van Rijn POV

I think that Dominic Flandry is usually the viewpoint character of Flandry stories whereas Nicholas van Rijn is not usually the viewpoint character of van Rijn stories? The first van Rijn story was "Margin of Profit" (Astounding, September 1956). According to the Chronology of Technic Civilization, "Margin of Profit," introducing van Rijn, and "How To Be Ethnic In One Easy Lesson," introducing Adzel, are set in the same year although "Margin of Profit" is listed first.

In The Earth Book Of Stormgate, the first four stories are:

"Wings of Victory"
"The Problem of Pain"
"How To Be Ethnic In One Easy Lesson"
"Margin of Profit"

- whereas, in The Technic Civilization Saga: The Van Rijn Method, the first five stories are:

"The Saturn Game"
"Wings of Victory"
"The Problem of Pain"
"Margin of Profit"
"How To Be Ethnic In One Easy Lesson"

I prefer "...Ethnic..." before "...Margin..." because I like the idea of four whole stories before van Rijn appears. These opening stories form a solid foundation for the emerging future history.

In Robert Heinlein's Future History, the first flight to the Moon occurs in the fifth installment and the first slower than light interstellar expedition has been launched by the time of the twentieth installment;

Isaac Asimov's Robots and Empire future history begins with robots working on solar planets and testing an FTL drive in an early story;

James Blish's Cities in Flight future history begins with a novel in which interplanetary travel happens while observations on Jupiter and experiments on Earth lead to the discoveries that make FTL interstellar flight possible;

in Anderson's Psychotechnic History, interplanetary travel has begun by the second installment and slower than light interstellar expeditions have been launched by the ninth installment;

in Anderson's Technic History, faster than light interstellar travel has already started in "Wings of Victory" but "The Saturn Game," about interplanetary exploration, was written later;

Larry Niven's Known Space future history begins with interplanetary exploration;

Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium future history begins with faster than light interstellar travel already happening.

Thus, we observe some technological progress in future histories. I started to post about van Rijn's pov but got sidetracked onto comparing the early periods of the big seven American future histories.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Now that you mentioned it, we do usually see Old Nick from the POV of other characters. Not so often from van Rijn's perspective--generally when he makes them angry, frustrated, or grudgingly admiring! (Smiles)

    If the Technic Civilization stories had depicted genuine history, "How To Be Ethnic In One Easy Lesson" was just as LIKELY to have occurred before "Margin of Profit" as after. Real history tends to be rather messy, chronologically speaking.

    And I only WISH Jerry Pournelle's FTL Alderson Drive had been invented for REAL in our timeline!

    I know you seldom discuss the books of Robert Heinlein in here, but that cover illustration for his novel DOUBLE STAR interested me. I thought DOUBLE very well done and interesting. Intriguing plot device, all Earth being united into a constitutional monarchy under the Dutch House of Orange.


    1. Sean:
      The scene depicted in the art is clever, too: the deception being unmasked because the impersonator doesn't know that politeness is INAPPROPRIATE in this special circumstance. I especially liked the touch of the Emperor turning out to be a fan who asked for The Great Lorenzo's autograph.

      Fun fact: the artist for that picture, Kelly Freas, wanted to use the actual coat of arms of William of Orange in the image, but for a long time he couldn't find it anywhere. Then he chanced upon a copy of the crest, in the possession of one of William's direct descendants in New York State. And my, the owner DID look quite regal ... so that really IS a scion of the House of Orange in that picture!

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      You are right! The Supreme Minister (as PMs were called) was actually the Great Lorenzo, a down on his luck actor recruited to impersonate an important politician. Emperor Willem unmasked Lorenzo as an impostor because he was TOO polite in private. The real Supreme Minister and the Emperor were old friends and the SM had not been afraid to mock, in a friendly way, Willem's passion for model trains.

      I was interested to find out Kelly Freas, in his passion for accuracy, wanted to include the arms of the House of Orange in his picture. It was also interesting to find out there was an Orange descendant in the US as well.

      Thanks! Sean

    3. Sean:
      Whereas YOU didn't spot my impersonation of Paul! [Snicker]

    4. Kaor, DAVID!

      Oh cuss words and drat! I did it AGAIN, and mistakenly addressed my comments to Paul, not you! I even KNEW it was you, but alas I'm so used to addressing Paul that I slipped up! Mea culpa!

      Thanks for being so nice about this!