Friday, 28 July 2017

Current Blogging And Reading

The previous post, on engaging with the future (see here), compared:

one short novel by HG Wells;
one short novel by James Blish;
two long series by Poul Anderson;
three novels by Anderson;
one long story by Anderson.

Thus, Anderson matches Wells and Blish in quality of imaginative fiction and surpasses both in quantity.

See also "A Few Details In The Time Machine," here.

Meanwhile, I am reading for the first time SM Stirling's The Tears Of The Sun, not futuristic sf but alternative history fiction. Stirling understands that, if he is to write about war, then he must also write about the preparations for war. We learn the High King Artos' plans for the coming major conflict and next we will learn how that war is to proceed in practice.

Onward and upward!


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I remember reading somewhere, perhaps in one of Jerry Pournelle or S.M. Stirling's books, a discussion by veteran soldiers about the nuts and bolts of war. One soldier said rookies talked about war and courage, but PROFESSIONALS talk about LOGISTICS. Courage is not enough, you also need to be ABLE to fight--and that means having what you NEED to fight. Stuff like money, food, medicines, uniforms, armor, weapons, supplies of all kinds.


S.M. Stirling said...

It's amazing how many armies in the past came to grief by starving -- and some just by getting lost. (Marcus Aurelius, for example, planned his campaign against the Marcommanii under the impression that the Baltic was about 150 miles north of the Danube. No kidding!)

Alexander the Great campaigned in Asia mostly by sending emissaries ahead of his armies (often into territory nominally controlled by his enemies) and announcing that he'd show up soon, and would pay top price for food and fodder, in cash.

The cash was secured by plunder (of the Persian royal treasuries) or by "contributions" levied on local governments and wealthy landowners, but he knew that actually robbing the peasants was an extremely inefficient last resort. That made food disappear into hiding places, or get gobbled or destroyed just to avoid having it stolen by foreigners. Money would mobilize hidden reserves and the locals would go to all the trouble of collecting it.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

Very interesting! I have heard of Marcus Aurelius' war with the Marcomanni, but not that he thought the Baltic was only 150 miles north of the Danube! To be fair to him, the land to about where Bohemia/Czech Republic now is was where the Emperor was focusing his efforts.

I had not known that Alexander the Great was smart enough to avoid plundering the peasants! I would add that most of his conquests was simply a taking over of the Persian Empire.