Monday, 27 February 2017

An Alternative Present


finish reading SM Stirling's Dies The Fire;

start reading Volume II, The Protector's War, which has just arrived.

David Drake writes of The Protector's War:

"Reminds me of Poul Anderson at his best."

At his best? We will find out.

We note that, whereas Dies The Fire, published in 2005, has an opening chapter set in 1998 - Change minus one hour, The Protector's War, published in 2006, has an opening chapter set in 2006 - Change Year Eight. Stirling was writing an alternative present and we are reading twenty first century science fiction after so many decades of regarding the twenty first century as "the future." Remember that The Time Machine was a work of the nineteenth century. We have come a long way from Wells via Anderson to Stirling. Futuristic speculation is gaining a substantial past.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I think, at his best, some of Stirling's books are indeed worthy of being compared to those of Anderson. Examples being THE PESHAWAR LANCERS, CONQUISTADOR, THE SKY PEOPLE, and IN THE COURTS OF THE CRIMSON KINGS, plus the four Draka books.

I do have some criticisms of Stirling, I fear. One being how his enthusiasm for research can lead to cramming TOO MUCH into his books. Such as minute explanations of how a farm is run. Stirling writes well, so I don't usually mind. But other readers might get impatient!

But my pet criticism is the sheer implausibility of there being so many women soldiers/warriors, as seen in Stirling's books. I've discussed the practical reasons for why I find that unlikely in other comments. Stirling did manage to make me suspend my disbelief on that point in his Draka books, however.