Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Not Only Times But Also Places

A future history series should feature places where some of the characters live, work or spend time so that the reader vicariously experiences not only the passage of time, biographical, generational, historical - even geological and cosmological - but also a number of fully realized physical locations. History is temporal but historical events are spatiotemporal and sometimes contemporaneous. John Ridenour is on Freehold and Chunderban Desai is on Aeneas while Dominic Flandry pursues his career in Intelligence. Earlier, some Polesotechnic League stories had overlapped.

The Rebel Worlds introduces some locations on Aeneas, then most of The Day Of Their Return is set on that planet. Nicholas van Rijn has a penthouse in Chicago Integrate and Dominic Flandry has an apartment in Archopolis. However, these characters move around so much that what we get is a quick succession of places and planets although each of these is realized in detail. We see Flandry in his office at Intelligence Headquarters only once in his entire series.

In the Man-Kzin Wars series, Jerry Pournelle and SM Stirling take the trouble to establish the setting of Harold's Terran Bar which Anderson reuses. In one scene, we see this nightspot when it is empty in daylight. Only the proprietor and the bribe-accepting police chief meet and eat:

egg and potato salad;
gulyas soup -

- although the police chief has only a croissant and espresso. More for our food thread.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I remember Dominic Flandry's office as well. And his anxious reflections about that "damned company town," Admiralty Center. And how, despite everything it's destruction when the Empire finally fell would mean "something of beauty and gallantry would have departed the universe" (quoting from memory).