Sunday, 2 April 2017

Future History Parallels

Analog published installments of James Blish's Cities in Flight future history and also of Poul Anderson's Technic Civilization future history.

"...the Bureaucratic State...allowed the now large numbers of Okie cities to develop in effectual anarchy, a condition very well suited to their proliferation of trade routes throughout the known and unknown galaxy."
-James Blish, The Triumph Of Time IN Blish, Cities In Flight (London, 1981), pp. 467-596 AT p. 470.

Blish does not use the phrase "known space" but it is there in embryo. The Okies sound like Anderson's Polesotechnic League.

Blish's Alois Hrunta defeats the Vegans and declares himself Emperor of Space whereas Anderson's Manuel Argos defeats the Gorzuni and declares himself Emperor of Terra. However, the Bureaucratic State suppresses the Hruntan Empire whereas the Solar Commonwealth had collapsed before the founding of the Terran Empire.

Blish's post-Okie New Earthmen, kept alive for centuries by antiagathics, survive until the unexpectedly early end of this universe whereas some of Anderson's characters, in an independent novel, survive beyond the end of this universe by time dilation.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I would not press the comparison of Blish's Okies/Flying Cities too far with Anderson's Polesotechnic League. The two were VERY different. The one featured entire cities using spindizzies to leave Earth, the other focused on COMPANIES using star ships with small crews to explore and trade, etc.

I got bogged down in the third Flying Cities book, but the bit about the Hruntan Empire interests me. WHY did the Bureaucratic State on Earth suppress the Space Empire? Was it considered a threat to the Bureaucratic State? Perhaps I should go back to the third book and try again.