Sunday, 20 March 2016


When, in Jerry Pournelle's and SM Stirling's "The Asteroid Queen," a kzinti Conservor of the Ancestral Past recites the Law, the astute reader might hear echoes of:

Merseian religion -

"As the God is Sire to the Patriarch..."
-Larry Niven, Ed., Man-Kzin Wars III (New York, 1990), p. 57.

Merseian social organization -

"...the officer is the hand of the Sire." (ibid.)

and Ythrian religion -

"...the Patriarch bares stomach to the fangs of the God..." (ibid.)

Also, a reference to "'...feral humans in the mountains...'" (p. 58) might remind us that the Draka describe free human beings as feral serfs.

My point of course is not that one work merely imitates the others but that all of these works are worthy of our attention. Kzinti are not just Merseians with feline features instead of green skins. Ythrian psychology and social organization reflect alien biology and physiology. And the Draka are what human beings might become! Read them all. 


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I'm puzzled by this piece. Not all of what you quote or allude to seems to match up. Is the dominant "Merseian religion" truly like the Kzinti "As the God is Sire to the Patriarch"? And I don't think the Ythrian New Faith is comparable to the Kzinti "...the Patriarch bares stomach to the fangs of the God..." The Ythrian religion stressed believers giving God the Hunter a good fight; the Kzinti expression you quoted is actually a dramatic expression of faith, hope, and trust in God.


Paul Shackley said...

Just faint echoes and you may not agree with them: a monotheism (maybe) that focuses neither on a named deity nor on "God" but on "the God"; an officer as a "hand"; the God as a predator; acceptance that the God kills us.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I did see the "faint echoes" you saw but I'm not sure they are truly applicable to each other. The Merseian conception of an aloofly transcendent reminded me of the Muslim view of God (without the caprice and arbitrary use of raw power we see in the Islamic view of God).

Yes, I can see how the Ythrian view of God the Hunter fits in with viewing Him as a Predator (revolting and even blasphemous tho I find that notion). But I still think a pious Kzinti baring his stomach to the fangs of the God reads more like him expressing faith and trust in God.