Thursday, 3 March 2016

Comparing American Future Histories

We will probably continue to compare American future histories while also continuing to emphasize, as has already been clearly demonstrated, that Poul Anderson is the master of this particular sf sub-genre. To this end, I must finish rereading Larry Niven's and Jerry Pournelle's The Mote In God's Eye, then perhaps read or reread more volumes in Pournelle's CoDominium History.

As it happens, I have copies of The Mercenary and King David's Spaceship. Since each of these works has been read maybe once and not recently, I am spared the trouble of seeking out other titles on Amazon for a while.

Since King David's Spaceship begins with a noisy crowd in the Blue Bottle and Imperial Navy officers buying drinks, we are in familiar territory, remembering, e.g., the opening passage of Anderson's "Sargasso of Lost Starships." Human beings cross interstellar distances faster than light, settle on terrestroid planets like Ansa or Prince Samual's World, build communities with hostelries like the Golden Planet or the Blue Beetle, then find that they are ruled by an Emperor in another planetary system, on Terra or Sparta.

Having enjoyed this fictional scenario in well-written works by Anderson, we expect to enjoy it again when it is re-presented by another writer - but the new writer must earn his keep. He does. 

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Besides THE MERCENARY and KING DAVID'S SPACESHIP, I hope you also read THE GRIPPING HAND, Niven/Pournelle's sequel to MOTE.

The inn we see in KING DAVID'S SPACESHIP certainly reminds me of analogous inns in the works of Poul Anderson. Or, for that matter, the taverns we see in Tolkien's THE LORD OF THE RINGS.