Thursday, 24 November 2016

Civilization Clusters In The Technic History?

For "civilization clusters" in Poul Anderson's After Doomsday, see here and here.


The premises of After Doomsday are that:

the galaxy is full of intelligent races;
“superlight” travel is possible.

It follows that:

superlight is discovered somewhere some time, once or more than once;
explorers encounter many races, some of whom are willing and able to acquire superlight from them;
superlight travel spreads like dandelion seeds;
space traveling races deal with those with whom they can converse and ignore or bypass others;
they can deal regularly only with those in their immediate vicinity;
therefore, the galaxy is full of “civilization-clusters,” between which there is no regular contact;
within a cluster, space travellers learn a common language and one such language is used in several nearby clusters;
even within a cluster, every planet is economically self-sufficient so trade is in knowledge and luxury items;

 the civilized galaxy is so vast that there cannot be a single Empire or Federation and no one knows the history or current macro-status of the entire galaxy;
militaristic imperialism between nearby worlds is possible and, this being a work by Anderson, it does occur in our cluster – marine warriors on one planet and nomadic conquerors on another maintain their societies by expanding into space, engage in conflict with each other and involve other races in the hostilities.

-copied from here.

In the Imperial period of Anderson's History of Technic Civilization, the characters continually remind themselves, and thus also us, that they inhabit only one poorly explored sphere of space at one end of a single spiral arm of a single galaxy. In the Commonalty period, there are human civilizations in several spiral arms although the action of the only story set in this period is confined to a single region of space at the galactic periphery.

Might there be similar groups of interacting civilizations elsewhere in this galaxy or in neighboring galaxies? Several independent Histories could be written. Some of Anderson's short stories are set on extra-solar planets. Could some of these be construed as occurring elsewhere in the Technic History universe?


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree that it is very likely mankind is not the only intelligent race in the Milky Way galaxy. The universe, and a single galaxy like ours, is so vast that I simply can't believe ours is the only intelligent race to exist.

Ir might be the case that our planet Earth is, as yet, the only one in our galactic "neighborhood" to have as yet reached a level of technology advanced enough to have begun at least dabbling in space flight. That might be why we have not yet "heard" from other races. I think Poul Anderson made a suggestion like that in IS THERE LIFE ON OTHER WORLDS?

And, yes, the suggestion in AFTER DOOMSDAY that, even granted a FTL drive, the galaxy might naturally "evolve" into civilization clusters makes sense. The Technic Civilization cluster, if we include even the hostile Merseian Roidhunate, probably extended for about 1000 light years. The Empire, the Roidhunate, Betelgeuse, the Domain of Ythri, and a few smaller space faring states, could be called a civilization cluster.

And actual Merseian attempts to exterminate the human race could help explain why human colonies were founded in other spiral arms of the galaxy. Some might have been founded by refugees, others by groups of people simply seeking a new life.

And which of Anderson's short stories do you speculate could be construed as possibly occurring in the same time line as the Technic Civilization? Do these include stories where only STL means of star traveling were known? I can think of one or two, like "Time Lag."

There are STILL so many of the works of Poul Anderson, fiction and nonfiction, I have not read. I tried to list unknown to me or uncollected pieces by Anderson in my "Uncollected Works of Poul Anderson" article. I am sure I have not managed to list them all!


Paul Shackley said...

I don't know which other stories might fit! It was just a passing thought.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Understood! I was taking your "passing thought" seriously. (Smiles)