Saturday, 17 June 2017

Retro Futures

Why might people fight with swords in the future? Science fiction writers present at least three reasons:

(i) in Charles Harness' The Paradox Men, only the point of a rapier can penetrate a personal force field;

(ii) in Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization, precisely because the Terran Imperials are decadent, they affect the archaism of scientific fencing - useful when fighting a telepath because he cannot anticipate his adversary's reflexes;

(iii) in SM Stirling's Emberverse, advanced technology, including even gunpowder, no longer works so -

civilization falls;
the survivors have a lot to fight about;
they must relearn the use of swords, spears, lances and bows and arrows.

In fact, Stirling's characters really develop their archery. Where else do we see revived archery?:

in one James Bond short story;
every superhero universe has to have an amphibian, a speedster and an archer - Marvel has Hawkeye and DC has Green Arrow.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I'm puzzled by your puzzlement. I get the impression that you think it's odd for people in a high tech society to have an interest in fencing. In fact, a high tech society might well have fencing devotees who focus on skillful, scientific fencing, as we see with the Imperials in the Flandry stories. Or, for that matter, I'm sure there are fencing clubs in or near Lancaster!

And any survivors, post-Change, with any grasp on how to use pre-gunpowder weapons, such as members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, would have a big advantage over those who did not!

Btw, Poul Anderson was a founding member of the SCA. And I'm sure the Society also had archery fans!

But, it was the accident of the British ex SAS sergeant, Sam Aylward, being rescued by Juniper Mackenzie from a ridiculous death enabled the nascent "clan" really develop their skills at archery. Sam Aylward was an expert in both modern (now useless) weapons and the suddenly far more relevant bow and arrow.


Paul Shackley said...

Not puzzlement. Just a question to introduce 3 reasons.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Understood! I thought you were puzzled because of how often you asked questions about fencing. But I see now those questions were only meant to show how fencing could be still relevant in high tech societies.