Sunday, 18 September 2016

History And Life

See Social Upheaval.

It reads like real history. And, because it does, I would like to read a novel set in Chicago Integrate during van Rijn's lifetime and another set in Archopolis during Flandry's lifetime.

"[Van Rijn] glared out across the city, where it winked and glittered beneath the stars, around the curve of the planet. 'Do you think they yonder is free?' he shouted. His hand chopped downward in scorn." (David Falkayn: Star Trader, p. 327)

Yes, van Rijn, I do think that we are free although lacking either the attitudes or the aptitudes of merchant adventurers. Many types of human beings are necessary to build a complex society. Van Rijn here expresses a lordly disdain for his employees and customers whereas respect would be more appropriate.

"'We here in this room are wild...We do what we do because we want to or because it is right. No other motivations, nie?'" (p. 326)

The "...because it is right..." is an important qualification. We are all too familiar with the characters who do only what they want. But there are many Terrestrial citizens who, whatever their jobs or positions in society, do what they want or what is right and do not have the slave mentality:

"'Wanting somebody else should tell them what to do...'" (p. 327)

- which van Rijn rightly derides.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Agree, there is so much more I would liked to have known in the eras of both the Polesotechnic League and the Terran Empire. Stories set in both Chicago Integrate and Archopolis would help fill in those gaps.

I'm inclined to agree with what you said about van
Rijn "glaring" over the city. I agree he did overstate his point. Not ALL the ordinary people he seems to be scorning here will have a slave's mentality (or to be Stirlingian, to be like Homo servus). And Old Nick, as you pointed out, almost immediately qualified the "glaring" passage with "because it is right." And Nicholas vam Rijn could be more carefully nuanced in other stories.