Thursday, 2 March 2017

Major Events

Major twentieth century events are the background not only for innumerable lives but also for contemporary fiction. For example, the Vietnam War occurs in many timelines, including:

the timeline of Poul Anderson's There Will Be Time, where Robert Anderson refers to My Lai;

the timeline of Anderson's Time Patrol series, where Manse Everard refers to American betrayal;

our timeline where Poul Anderson is the author of these works.

Although both these works are sf, involving time travel, the references to Vietnam could have been made in a mainstream novel or in real life. By contrast, Jamie Delano reflects on the war by writing a ghost story/horror story. The people of a small American town pray for their sons in a MIA battalion to return. The ghosts return, bringing the war with them, perceiving their home town as a Vietnamese village...

The next volume on my reading list is SM Stirling's The Protector's War. Mankind continues fighting in another alternative timeline.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Poul Anderson had the Vietnam War in mind while writing ENSIGN FLANDRY. As Commander Abrams told Flandry in that book, the Empire was on Starkad for the pragmatic reason of resisting Merseian expansionism as well as assisting the Tigeries defend themselves. That too was why the US became involved in Vietnam, to help frustrate Soviet and Red Chinese intrigues (and help to protect South Vietnam from the ruthless aggressors from Hanoi).

The pity was the US lost both its nerve and was unable to formulate an adequate STRATEGIC theory to help guide the tactics and methods for achieving that strategic goal. The best book on the War I've read was Col. Harry Summers' ON STRATEGY: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE VIETNAM WAR. And this lack of a clear strategy inevitably affected the morale and discipline of US forces in S. Vietnam, helping to lead to crimes like My Lai.

And I look forward to any comments you make about Stirling's THE PROTECTOR'S WAR. Unfortunately, I don't think strife and conflict among human beings will ever cease, absent the second coming of Christ.