Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Chronological Questions II

There is one easy way to remove the chronological contradiction from Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic History. The Chronology dates "The Chapter Ends" to post-4000 and Sandra Miesel's interstitial text agrees with this, dating that story to the early fifth millennium. Just two words, "4000" and "fifth," could be altered without making any change to Anderson's texts and without even making any other change to the Chronology.

By contrast, the text of "The Chapter Ends" is permeated with phrases like:

"...[Terrans] had been static for more thousands of years than anyone knew." Starship (New York, 1982), p. 255.

"...man had changed; over the thousands of years, natural and controlled adaptation had fitted him to the worlds he had colonized..." (p. 258)

However, even if there were no overt contradiction, the story is set so far in the future that it simply has no connection with the histories of the UN, the Solar Union or the Stellar Union. Jorun is a "...psychotechnician..." (p. 256) but, like the hyperdrive, psychotechnics can exist in more than one timeline.

Did Anderson project any stories that would have been set during:

the Third Dark Ages;
the First Empire;
the many sackings of Sol City;
subsequent Empires;
the many millennia of Terran peasantry;
the artificial mutation enabling individual human beings to control cosmic energies and fly between stars;
the alliance of human and other species in "...the great star-clusters of Galactic center" (p. 262);
their friendly negotiations with the gas giant dwelling Hulduvians of the Galactic periphery?

That would have been a much longer and more diverse future history.

The Stellar Union Coordination Service correlates information with "integrator" machines (The Peregrine, New York, 1979, p. 30). The psychotechnician Jorun takes his orders from "...the Integrator on Corazuno..." (Starship, p. 256).

So maybe Jorun synthesizes elements derived from the earlier Psychotechnic Institute and Coordination Service? To revive a term that had been applied to the genetic original of the earlier Rostomily Brotherhood Un-men, Jorun is certainly a "superman," nearly a thousand years old and able to fly the thirty thousand light-years from Corazuno to Earth in just ten days, then hang free in space to observe Earth, his ancestral planet although not one atom from it is in his body.

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