Monday, 1 February 2016
"Men Make Their Own History..."
Whereas SM Stirling's John Rolfe accidentally opened a Gate to an alternative Earth where he founded the Commonwealth of New Virginia, Poul Anderson's Manuel Argos led a slave revolt and founded the Terran Empire. The Empire is incomparably vaster than the Commonwealth. However, this is because Rolfe was a World War II veteran whereas Argos was born in a later age of faster than light interstellar travel: "...not in circumstances of their own choosing."
Further, we are shown several centuries of the Empire but only two generations of the Commonwealth. How vast might the latter later become? At the end of Conquistador, the Commonwealth begins to expand not out into space but sideways onto a third alternative Earth. Since at least one of Argos' predecessors has already traveled between universes, there is the possibility, however remote, of a meeting between Commonwealth and Empire, maybe in a second Anderson-themed anthology? But, meanwhile, we have many already written works to read or reread.
Apparently, hypothetical crossovers are a regular fannish debating topic:
Batman and Captain America fight - who wins?;
the Federation of Star Trek and the Empire of Star Wars meet - which wins?;
(I have the uneasy feeling that this post has descended from the sublime to the center of a black hole.)