Monday, 10 October 2016

Layers Of Wreckage

Dominic Flandry regards the planet Irumclaw, with its abandoned mansions, oafish criminals and returning barbarism, as the wreckage of empire. But its civilization had been built on earlier wreckage. The Terran Empire rose out of the Troubles after the collapse of the previous political and economic arrangements, the Solar Commonwealth and the Polesotechnic League. Nicholas van Rijn and David Falkayn transferred data units to Hermes, knowing that they would be safer there than in the Solar System. Falkayn founded a colony which, after the Troubles, joined the Domain of Ythri, not the Empire.

The League had had a base on Irumclaw. Is Irumclaw mentioned in the League period of the Technic History? A few underground installations survived with tunnels about to collapse, inhabited by nightskulks. Those sound like the nightwalkers of Terrestrial superstition. Sometimes in hard sf, explorers of other planets encounter parallels of fantasy creatures. Exploring the vaults for nefarious purposes, Ammon's men find a microfile giving the coordinates and galactic orbit of a planetary system containing a metal rich planet with mining robots and consciousness-level computer abandoned by Martian Minerals, Inc, of the Polesotechnic League! Since the Imperial bureaucrats would probably save themselves extra work and trouble by classifying such a discovery secret, why should Ammon not develop it? I cannot think of any good reason why not.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree, Poul Anderson describing the increasingly grim situation on Irumclaw as wreckage left behind by the
receding time of a waning Empire was a nice touch!

I am ALMOST sure we see no mention of Irumclaw in the stories set during the age of the Polesotechnic League. With members of the League operating on thousands of worlds it would not be surprising we see mentioned only a few planets.

Given both the paranoid secrecy seen in the Late League period after the events seen in MIRKHEIM and then the chaos of the Time of Troubles, it's no surprise that knowledge of
Wayland disappeared.

I agree, I would far rather Leon Ammon, gangster tho he was, reopened the mines of Wayland instead of having it be declared off limits and classified by bureaucrats unwilling to put out a little extra effort. And, besides the value of Wayland reviving the economy on Irumclaw and the Empire in general, the clout such wealth gave Ammon would enable him to pressure the Imperium not to abandon Irumclaw. And that would help in holding the line against Merseian aggression.