Wednesday, 8 March 2017
Three Kinds Of Periods
SM Stirling's Emberversers have been cast back into a period when events are reported by word of mouth and soon become legends, then myths. But the Changed society is post-, not pre-, literate. The fortuitous presence of Wiccans and a Tolkien fan at pivotal events determines how those events are remembered and recorded. For example, even in the United States, a leader who kills a bear becomes "Lord Bear." Wicca replaces Christianity as a dominant religion.
However, legendary processes are still at work even in pre-Change society. At a World SF Con, I attended a slide show by legend-in-his-own-lifetime, Arthur C. Clarke. The slides included pictures of Clarke with other legends-in-their-own-lifetimes like Neil Armstrong. Clarke observed that many people did not recognize Armstrong. It is an interesting process when the still living wo/man and the legend part company. Thatcherism lived on politically while Thatcher lived on in obscurity.
In Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization, Bryce Harker has seen Old Nick van Rijn on a telescreen interview and, centuries later, van Rijn still lives in folk lore on many planets. And, in another Anderson future, three thousand year old Hugh Valland still tells stories of Thor...