Sunday, 2 April 2017


Science fiction future histories are one kind of fictional history, other examples being JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth History and CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. The Bible contains myths, legends, historical fictions and theologically interpreted histories. This, while it is not itself a fictional history, it does cover some of the same territory.

And fictional histories have apocrypha:

(i) earlier versions of stories that have had to be revised to fit into the history;
(ii) stories that share background details but that remain inconsistent with the course of events in the history.

Larry Niven's Known Space History has two examples of (ii) and Anderson's Psychotechnic History has one, which I have discussed somewhere. It is about a guy who gets duplicated. Does anyone remember the title?

On (i), I have been told that, at one point in the Middle Earth History, a character narrating a story apologizes to some people who have read a different version of it. In Poul Anderson's The Earth Book Of Stormgate, the Avalonian editor, Hloch, notes that The Man Who Counts had been published in different places. It had indeed. And the author disliked the title, War Of The Wing Men.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

About a man who got duplicated, I think you had Anderson's "Symmetry" in mind. It can be most conveniently found in SPACE FOLK.

As for your last paragraph, I think you had how Aragorn chanted, in part, a Common Speech version of the "Tale of Beren and Luthien." I recall how Aragorn said, perhaps apologetically, that this was only part of a much longer poem. It can be found in Book I, Chapter XI of THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

I'm amused at how all this chasing down of literary references has me moving back and forth from my computer and books!


Paul Shackley said...

"Symmetry." Right.

David Birr said...

Paul and Sean:
While not involving an apology by a character (that I can recall, at least), the original edition of *The Hobbit* had Bilbo's encounter with Gollum go rather differently. Then Tolkien linked *The Hobbit* to *The Lord of the Rings* and rewrote the scene, with a foreword saying that the first edition version was Bilbo LYING, and that this unneeded lie was an early sign of the Ring's corrupting influence.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID!

Aha! I remember that as well, from reading about how Tolkien revised THE HOBBIT. Part of Bilbo's lie was from writing Gollum/Smeagol was sorry he did not have the Ring to give to the hobbit as the promised reward for winning the riddle contest.

Strictly from a literary POV, the revised version of "Riddles In The Dark" was better, being darker, grimmer, far more dangerous to Bilbo.