Sunday, 27 May 2012

Flandry's Legacy?

If anyone else has read the articles on this blog in chronological order, then they might have noticed that I have made several attempts to delineate how Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilisation should be presented in a uniform series of omnibus collections. Although the details are debatable, I think that a basic pattern has emerged. Baen Books have got the number of volumes right: seven. There should be (I now think):

one volume of beginnings and introductions;
an entire volume about Nicholas van Rijn or his employees;
an intermediate volume covering the later League, the colonization of Avalon and the early Empire;
the "Young Flandry" trilogy;
one volume about the Empire in general and Dominic Flandry in particular;
the last three novels set during Flandry's life time;
an "After the Empire" volume.

The last three novels during Flandry's life are not a trilogy, perhaps a "triptych." I call these novels "Children of Empire" because each of them begins with a grown up son or daughter of a human character introduced in the first Flandry novel and the third of them also features the grown up son of a non-human character introduced in that first Flandry novel.

Clearly, I think that Flandry himself should be kept out of the concluding volume and I do not think that Flandry's Legacy is an appropriate title for it. Flandry prolonged the Empire but he was not responsible either for the chaos that followed the Empire or for the long recovery after that.

Afterthought: The rationale for seven volumes is as follows. Both the League period and the Flandry period have a beginning, a middle, an end and an aftermath but the League's end and aftermath fit into a single volume.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I basically agree with how you would divide into seven volumes the Technic Civiliation stories. But, while AFTER THE EMPIRE would be an accurate title for collecting the four post Imperial stories, it still seems rather weak to me. I would prefer THE LONG NIGHT, even if that too is not quite satisfactory (because only two of the four stories are set in the era of anarchy after the Empire fell).


Paul Shackley said...

I partly agree. Maybe more on this later... Meanwhile, see Afterthought above.