Sunday, 16 October 2016

Living In The Future II

There are very few continuing characters in Robert Heinlein's five-volume Future History. The hero is mankind in the future. Each early story has a different viewpoint character and sometimes a first person narrator. Between them, they present different perspectives on what it is like either to visit or live on the Moon.

In Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization, James Ching tells us what it is like to live on Earth in the Solar Commonwealth in the time of the Polesotechnic League. Jim appears in just one story although we are assured that he has a future in space and Hloch imparts some minimal information about his later career.

Jim introduces the League and also Adzel who will be a continuing character. Maybe it would have been harder for Anderson to write a story from Adzel's pov? Also, what mattered for story purposes was how Adzel appeared to human beings, not only to Jim but also crucially to Jim's counselor who must be persuaded that a large reptilian quadruped can contribute to the, somewhat xenophobic, Festival of Man!


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And one story Heinlein never got around to writing in his Future History was "The Stone Pillow," because he did not like who the viewpoint character would have been, Nehemiah Scudder.

    It's been a long time since I last read "How To Be..." but I don't recall the Festival of Man as being xenophobic!


    1. Sean,
      The Festival promoters argue in part, "...the Solar Commonwealth is deluged with alien - nonhuman - influence...the false glamor of ideas never born on man's true home..." (Baen, p. 180)

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      I remember that! And if the organizers had said "...the false glamor of SOME ideas never born on man's true...", that would be less questionable. Because I do believe SOME ideas originating among aliens are likely to be wrong.

      Moreover, many suitably terrestrial planets would also become equally "true" homes for mankind. This hint of opposition to extra Solar colonization also helps to make me skeptical about the Festival of Man.