Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Wells, Stapledon And Anderson

See the previous post and comment. I overlooked Poul Anderson's own Martian invasion novel (see here) with its overtly Wellsian title and its plot twist of extrasolar aliens covertly controlling both Martians and Terrestrials. Thus, the list of Wells-Stapledon-Anderson parallels becomes:

time travel;
future history;
past history;
interplanetary invasions in general;
Martian invasions of Earth in particular.

Wells' Martians attack Earth, then Venus. Stapledon's Terrestrials invade Venus, then Neptune. Also:

ERB's Moon Men conquer Earth and his Jovians plan to invade Mars;
Heinlein and the collaborative team of Niven and Pournelle each have a novel about an alien invasion of Earth.

Can anything more be said about this idea? We might think not until an sf writer proves us wrong.

When I said that Wells, Stapledon and Anderson wrote about the past, I mentioned Anderson's Time Patrol series but not his other historical fiction. It might be thought inappropriate to classify Wells' The Outline Of History alongside works of fiction. However, to write history and to write historical fiction are two ways to address history. Anderson's several volumes of historical fiction impart knowledge and analysis of periods and events. When I read about the Scipios at the Battle of Ticinus in a Latin text at school, I had already read about this event in Poul Anderson's "Delenda Est."

5 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I agree: while Wells, Stapledon, Heinlein, Anderson, and Niven/Pournelle seems to have covered all the angles in the alien invasion theme, that is not necessarily so. We should hope another SF author will figure out another ingenious and interesting twist on the idea!

    I really don't want to say too much about Anderson's THE WAR OF TWO WORLDS, lest I spoil it for readers who have not read it yet. Anderson included yet another ingenious twist in the idea of extra-solar aliens manipulating both human beings and alien Martians.

    I'm most fond of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom books, but your mention of his Moon Men invading Earth interests me. Something I should look up! I like his pre-Hemingwayesque, rather ornate prose, to be frank.

    And it was interesting you saying how you first found out about the Scipios and their roles during and after the Battle of Ticinus from reading Anderson's "Delenda Est." Not from studying history at school. I was reminded of how I think the closest anything like that happened to me was first coming across the concepts of cloning and flying cars in Anderson's ENSIGN FLANDRY and AGENT OF THE TERRAN EMPIRE.

    Sean

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    1. Sean,
      ERB's THE MOON MAID is a sequel to his Martian series.
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Then that DEFINITELY makes me interested in Burroughs THE MOON MAID!

      Sean

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  2. Paul and Sean:
    H. Beam Piper, in his *Paratime* stories and a short story titled "Genesis," had Earth people being the descendants of colonists from Mars. "Genesis" specifies the Neanderthal people were already here, and the colonists fought them, so the colonization is technically a Martian invasion of Earth ... by us. Does that count as different enough to be "something more"?

    (Science marches on. The notion that the Neanderthalers were so unrelated to modern humans that they might have evolved as an entirely alien species was acceptable in Piper's day, but now....)

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    1. Kaor, David!

      I'm shamefully ignorant of the works of H. Beam Piper, but the idea of Earth men being originally invaders and colonists from Mars is a new wrinkle in the alien invasion scheme to me!

      Correct, today Neanderthals are considered to have been very closely related to Homo sapiens. So much so that it is now believed many of US are partly descended from Neanderthals, a possibility I like!

      Sean

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