Sunday, 24 January 2016

Fundamental Issues

Poul Anderson's science fiction addresses fundamental issues concerning:

historical events and processes (past, future and alternative);
humanity and society;
politics and economics;
technology and freedom;
cosmology and philosophy!

Even when the plot of a pulp magazine short story is about a secret service agent fighting a would-be dictator, the issue is whether world society should be united and, if so, how and by whom. Should unity be forcibly imposed or socially engineered - or neither? Anderson wound up favoring diversity. (My slogan is: difference without division; unity without uniformity.)

Anderson presents these issues through texts that combine:

beautiful descriptive passages;
strong characterization;
scientific extrapolations.

I trust that page viewers read the comments as well as the posts? Recent discussions demonstrate that SM Stirling's alternative history fiction addresses the same kinds of issues in the same kinds of ways. Thus, Stirling is like Anderson in being original, not in resembling Anderson!

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor ,Paul!

I agree with your comments about Poul Anderson. And I agree S.M. Stirling, at his best, resembles Anderson in the points you listed. Stirling also seems sympathetic to Catholic Christianity while apparently being an agnostic. The chief complaint I have being Stirling's pointless use of lesbianism in some of his non-Draka books.

And, yes, Stirling was and is an original writer as well. He does not merely copy authors he likes. In fact he has surpassed Anderson at least in writing alternate universe stories.