Saturday, 12 March 2016

Some More Comparisons

Starting from Poul Anderson's eight (or nine) future histories, we have moved sideways in fictional time, finding interesting parallels with future history series by several other sf writers. Much of this discussion stays here on the Poul Anderson Appreciation blog because this is where it starts and because this is where page viewers come to. However, for further discussion of other future histories, please see the James Blish Appreciation and Science Fiction blogs, both linked to this one.

Here is another set of comparisons:

(i) In James Blish's Cities In Flight, Volume I, They Shall Have Stars, state security and secrecy stifle science whereas Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium goes even further by suppressing technologies with military applications, thus killing most research.

(ii) In Cities..., the USSR takes over the US whereas the CoDominium is a US-USSR alliance. I wondered where all the nationalism came from. It is a reaction against CD world domination. Blish's Bureaucratic State and its thought police go on to ban even fictional references to spaceflight as Unearthly Activities.

(iii) The CoDominium is succeeded by two interstellar Empires of Man. The Bureaucratic State is succeeded by some interstellar empires but mainly by the interstellar economy of the flying cities.

(iv) The CoDominium History culminates in First Contact with aliens whereas Cities... culminates in the mutual annihilation of two universes and the creation of several more:

"Creation began."
-James Blish, Cities In Flight (London, 1981), p. 596.

(v) Returning to our main man, Anderson shows cosmic beginnings in "Flight to Forever," Tau Zero and The Avatar whereas Pournelle concentrates on militarism - not an inherently science fictional theme.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I have to disagree with what you said in your last paragraph: "militarism - not an inherently science fictional theme." On the contrary, "militarism" is merely the organized, institutionalized CULMINATION of humans (and possibly non humans as well) vehemently at odds with one another (to put it mildly). Strife, conflict, and war is very much a part of human life, literature, and arts (including that branch of literature called science fiction).