Sunday, 21 May 2017

Kinds Of Interstellar Adversaries

Whereas Poul Anderson's green, tailed Merseians were saved from supernova radiation by the Polesotechnic League, gained the hyperdrive from Technic civilization and strive to supplant the Terran Empire, James Blish's blue nine-foot Malans rule a confederation older than humanity and even than the extinct Martians and admit to that confederation only civilizations of demonstrated stability.

Of Anderson's future histories, only the Technic History shows future humanity facing a hostile interstellar empire whereas Blish imagined:

Earthmen overthrowing the Vegan Tyranny but later displaced by the Web of Hercules;

the Hegemony of Malis and a telepathic Central Empire occupying the galactic centre in different strands of the Haertel Scholium;

the Green Exarchy ruling half of humanity's worlds from the far side of the galaxy in yet another strand.

For the Angels with whom Earthmen unite against the Malans and a comparable Andersonian being, see here.


Sean M. Brooks said...

And what does the Malan Confederation do about races which refuse to even request to join it?

And we see conflict as well in Frank Herbert's DUNE. And an interstellar empire ruled by House Corrino. Altho I'm puzzled at how a life extending spice, melange, was also used to somehow pilot star ships using an unexplained FTL drive.


Paul Shackley said...

The drug bestowed prescience, enabling Navigators to find the right route through space.

David Birr said...

Yeah, as Paul said, melange had capabilities beyond extending life. When he says "the right route," he means the safest, not simply the most direct; the prescience that came from melange warned Navigators of dangers their eyes couldn't. (The anti-computer "jihad" centuries earlier also probably crippled the development and use of long-range sensor technology.)

David Birr said...

By the way, I find "Hegemony of Malis" (Malice) to be a very suggestive name regarding their attitudes.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul and DAVID!

Thanks! Since I've read DUNE more than once, I should have remembered how melange conferred on the Navigator Guild "pilots", for finding the best ways to avoid dangers and arrive at the desired goals.

Yes, the Butlerian Jihad of the millennia before DUNE not only destroyed computer technology but also must have crippled long range sensing technology.

I would like to have known more about what kind of FTL drive the people in DUNE used. Possibly by Paul Atreides time men only knew how to build FTL ships, not how the drive WORKS? That might have been one consequence of the anti computer jihad.