Monday, 6 March 2017

Plausible Or Implausible

We often enjoy military conflicts in fiction if not in reality. Fictional war scenarios can be more or less plausible.

(i) We know that there were many wars in the past! Poul Anderson's trilogy about Harald Hardrada has to be about warfare because that was the historical reality.

(ii) We expect there to be wars in the future if civilization collapses but humanity survives. Fictional examples include several works by Anderson and SM Stirling's Emberverse series.

(iii) What other future scenarios will involve wars? Much though I enjoy Anderson's Dominic Flandry series, I think that its premises are implausible:

faster than light interstellar travel;
many rational species, some of them practising interstellar imperialism.

This is the last few thousand years of Terrestrial history projected onto an interstellar, multispecies scale with interstellar distances conveniently negated by FTL. The only thing predictable about the future is that it will not be like the past. And aliens will be alien. The biggest problems are likely to be finding, recognizing and understanding extrasolar intelligences. A lot of sf could just be about that.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Your point (ii): humanity being the kind of people they are, I fully further wars in the future. Both before and after a civilization collapses.

Regretfully, I disagree with your point (iii). First, I think wars will be possible both inside and outside the Solar System, whether or not a FTL drive is used. Second, SOME scientists don't totally dismiss the possibility of a FTL means of reaching the stars. Third, I think it is more likely than not that many non human intelligent races exist. Fourth, if any or all of them are Fallen, then war, including interstellar war, is possible.

I do agree that the future is unpredictable and will not be like the past, esp. if we get off this rock! Yes, aliens will be aliens, but that does not mean conflict with them will be impossible. Esp. if two different intelligent races both desire the kind of planets. As Anderson said somwhere, it wasn't the differences between mankind and the Merseians that made conflict between them almost inevitable-0-it was the SIMILARITIES they had.