Monday, 21 October 2013

Between The Dark Ages

I am handicapped by still not having read "The Acolytes" or "Green Thumb." Thus, of the works set between the Second and Third Dark Ages of Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic History, I am familiar with these six:

"Star Ship";
"Virgin Planet";
"The Pirate";
The Peregrine.

"Virgin Planet" begins with quotations from:

the Argus 293 Region Pilot's Manual;
the General Encyclopedic Dictionary;
the Argus 293 Region Coordination Service Chief's Diary.

However, the central character, Davis Bertram, is a stellagraphic survey man, not, as I had thought, a Cordy. Thus, this is not really a Coordination Service story.

However, three of the six works do form a triad:

the Nomads begin in "Gypsy";
Trevelyan Micah is a Cordy in "The Pirate";
Micah joins the Nomads in The Peregrine.

Because of faster than light travel, all of these works are set outside the Solar System. Only the two Trevelyan Micah stories show their central character as on Earth before he embarks on an interstellar mission. After eight centuries, Earth is no longer the scene of ideological conflict and global chaos that it was immediately before the Second Dark Ages. In fact, it sounds like the quiet, studious Earth of Anderson's non-series novel, World Without Stars. Trevelyan appreciates Earth's "...quiet..." and "...intellectuality..." (Star Ship, New York, 1982, p. 212). Homes are scattered over the green landscape of western North America (The Peregrine, New York, 1978, pp. 23-24). There is an "Arctic Resort," as in some other Anderson works.

Comparing the stories, I find another connection. The Cordy Chief on Nerthus reflects that, if Davis finds either an intelligent species or a colonizable planet, then "...he will go down in history with Carsten." (Star Ship, p. 88) And a Service machine directs Trevelyan to "'The planet Carsten's Star III, otherwise called Nerthus...'" (The Peregrine, p. 23).

Anderson devised a consistent background, which readers may or may not notice, for each of his many series.

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