Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Chains Of Association

The blog is motivated by chains of association. Thus:

(i) Sean Brooks posted me a number of items, including an Analog review of Poul Anderson's Orion Shall Rise;

(ii) the review describes Anderson's Maurai series as a handful of short stories followed by a novel;

(iii) this made me look at Anderson's Ythrian stories in a similar light;

(iv) therefore, I reread and posted about some passages in The Earth Book Of Stormgate.

Let us consider the Maurai History. It is an amazing trilogy incorporating an original shorter trilogy:

three Maurai short stories, enough for a single volume;
Orion Shall Rise;
There Will Be Time. (see here.)

(James Blish's Cities In Flight is an amazing tetralogy incorporating an original shorter tetralogy. In each case, the premise can be stated in one sentence - Anderson: after a nuclear war, civilization is rebuilt with alternative energy sources in the Southern Hemisphere; Blish: antigravity enables cities to fly between stars faster than light.)

Anderson did not connect his major future history, the History of Technic Civilization, with his major time travel series, the Time Patrol, but did connect his minor future history of the Maurai with his short time travel novel, There Will Be Time. As I keep saying, he seems to have addressed every possibility.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I'm glad my mailing copies of these article to you has affected you in such interesting, unexpected ways. That makes me feel vindicated! (Smiles)

I agree Poul Anderson seems to have thought of every REALISTIC or artistically satisfactory possibility. But I'm glad he did not try to link up his Technic Civilization series with the Time Patrol stories. Because I don't think that could have been done in a satisfactory/convincing way. At least not without causing too many internal self contradictions.

Yet again I'm reminded of how Isaac Asimov made the mistake of linking up his Robot stories with the Foundation series. In my opinion, the linking up was unsatisfactory, did not work.

I think Anderson's linking of his Maurai series with THERE WILL BE TIME did work, possibly because the Maurai series comprised only four works, thus making for fewer chances of internal self contradictions tripping up the whole thing?


Paul Shackley said...

Anderson was in complete control of what he was doing at every stage whereas Blish's future history, just 4 volumes, had to be endlessly revised.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I think you are right, PA did keep firm control of how and what he would write about, or how stories might be linked or not linked to others.

Btw, I think it's worth noting that ORION SHALL RISE, the sole Maurai novel, was written after THERE WILL BE TIME. And we see nothing in ORION about THERE WILL BE TIME. And I think, if that was a deliberate decision of PA, that it was right not to attempt such a linking up.