Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Kinds Of Timelines

There are many kinds of fictional timelines. Let us consider three related kinds.

(i) Poul Anderson, "The House of Sorrows"; The Shield Of Time, Part Six, "Amazement of the World."

There was an agricultural revolution but not a later scientific revolution. Therefore, there were no political, industrial, technological or cultural revolutions. Societies continued to farm and fight.

(ii) Anderson, Maurai and many others.

A nuclear war or other catastrophe destroys technological civilization but it can be rebuilt.

(iii) SM Stirling, Emberverse.

The Change ends technological civilization and it cannot be rebuilt. What happens next? I am finding out. What caused the Change? We might find out.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I would call Stirling's Emberverse books hard science fiction with a strong dash of fantasy.


S.M. Stirling said...

Sensu strictu, the Change doesn't eliminate technology; it just eliminates high-energy-density technologies or instantaneous communications.

The upper limit is more like a late-19th or early-20th century level in some respects. Medical technology can be quite advanced, agricultural productivity can push the upper limits of horse-powered machinery combined with sophisticated knowledge of soil chemistry and plant and animal breeding, and you can have things like bicycles, animal-powered railways, heliographs, and highly advanced sailing ships.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

And it's the DISAPPEARANCE of those "high-energy-density technologies or instantaneous communications" was the problem. Like it or not, there is only so much you can do with the alternatives you listed. No electricity, no rapid travel, no hope of ever getting OFF Earth.