Wednesday, 30 May 2012

...Better Than Star Trek

Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization" has its "Star Trek" period: the Grand Survey.

"Our service had one law, which was its proud motto: 'We come as friends.'...After five years the survivors would meet and compare experiences." (1)

Thus, a Prime Directive and a five year mission. Further:

"We always made initial contact with three..." (2)

In this story, the drama is generated by disagreement and conflict between two of the three about whether the winged creatures encountered on a new planet can be intelligent. They are and are welcomed into Technic civilization with later consequences in the History. This story introduces Ythrian biology. The following story, also about planetary exploration but in a later period, introduces Ythrian psychology and theology.

The Grand Survey could have been the basis of an entire series but instead appears just in this one story which provides background for the developing History. The previous story, "The Saturn Game," pre-Grand Survey, is set in the Solar System but nevertheless shows problems encountered by interplanetary explorers and thus is also Star Trek-like without being formulaic.

(1) Anderson, Poul, The Van Rijn Method, compiled by Hank Davis, Riverdale NY, 2009, p. 81.
(2) ibid., p. 82.

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