Friday, 18 October 2013

Three Periods

Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic History comprises 20 works set in three periods -

UN: 4 works about political conflicts;
Solar Union: 3 about social conditions + 4 about political conflicts;
FTL: 4 about Nomads, Cordies or both + 5 others.

In "Gypsy", Nomad culture begins;
in "Virgin Planet" and "The Pirates", Cordies (members of the Coordination Serice) address interstellar problems;
in The Peregrine, a Cordy cooperates with, then joins, the Nomads.

The Psychotechnic Institute has only one story, in the UN period, but psychotechnics as a science of society is a major issue throughout the series. The parallel Institute of Human Biology is mentioned only once, leaving a problem that we do not see resolved.

The Order of Planetary Engineers gets two stories in the Solar Union period but, we infer, ceases to exist during the Second Dark Ages, as do the Cordies during the Third Dark Ages which, presumably, the Nomads are equipped to survive.

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