Thursday, 25 February 2016


A fictional galaxy can be empty of intelligent life, except on Earth, or full of humanoid beings or somewhere on a spectrum between these two extremes. For one James Blish future history, see here.

Poul Anderson's Terran Empire rules a volume of space inhabited by many humanoid, and some more exotic, beings whereas Larry Niven's and Jerry Pournelle's Second Empire of Man rules only human colony planets until there is First Contact with the Moties.

The purpose of comparing two works is not to denigrate the currently read work by comparison but rather to enjoy both works simultaneously, appreciating contrasts as well as parallels. Because of blogging and other activities, I am rereading Niven's and Pournelle's The Mote In God's Eye at a snail's pace. However, I remember from previous readings that the protagonist, Rod Blaine, loses his first command as does Anderson's Dominic Flandry in The Rebel Worlds. On the other hand, neither of these characters was destined to captain a spaceship. Blaine has aristocratic responsibilities and Flandry is better suited to Intelligence work.

I will continue to reread Mote, not specifically seeking comparisons with Anderson's Technic History, but probably continuing to find points of comparison with other future histories, including the several by Anderson. 

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Interesting, how you found a parallel between Roderick Blaine and Dominic Flandry: they were both Navy officers who had lost their first commands.

I would argue however, that Rod Blaine would have remained in the Navy as a career officer, as was his wish, before his older brother's death made it necessary to assume social and political responsibilities as a civilian.

I agree Dominic Flandry was better suited as an Intelligence officer. However, part of the training for that was to include a stint as a ship commander. I'm sure Flandry would far rather have not lost his command (albeit it could be argued that unwittingly led to Flandry being able to help quickly suppress McCormac's Rebellion).