Monday, 20 March 2017

Role Play

"The Saturn Game" by Poul Anderson is a hard sf short story about characters role playing a fantasy scenario while exploring the outer Solar System. Thus, one kind of synthesis between fantasy and sf. The fantasy narrative is a "play within the play." However, what becomes of an astronaut when his fantasy character has to die?

The Protector's War by SM Stirling is an alternative history novel in which some characters ground their activities in Tolkienesque fantasy complete with conversations and terminology in Elvish. Such role play is facilitated by a return to a society in which combat is with swords and spears, not guns or explosives.

Given technology for personal flight, would it be possible to base a life-style around Anderson's Ythrians or other aspects of his Technic History? It would be necessary to build the languages from scratch since we learn only a few syllables of Planha and Eriau and nothing of Anglic.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I understood Poul Anderson's "The Saturn Game" to be an examination of the benefits, as well as the risks attending role playing games. What had started simply as a harmless pastime DID become a threat to a group of explorers. But we also see role playing defended by one character as beneficial as long as certain elementary precautions were taken in the future.

Yes, the post-Change world enabled a group of Tolkien enthusiasts to reorganize and remodel their lives on ideas taken from the Middle Earth mythos because it did no real harm and actually WORKED. We do see the older Survivors alternately amused or bemused by these "neo-Numenoreans."

No, I don't think it would be really possible for humans to role play Ythrians. If only because that non-human alien race is too physically DIFFERENT from human beings to make such attempts practical. Those who tried too hard to be more Ythrian than the Ythrians, as Christopher Holm came close to doing in THE PEOPLE OF THE WIND, merely became pathetic.

Role playing Merseians might be easier in some ways, but I would not care to do so. If only because the ideology of racial supremacy which came to dominate the Roidhunate repels me. I recommend readers looking up the revised version of my article "Was The Domination Inspired By Merseia" (which in turn was partly inspired by Stirling's Draka books).

Hmmm, an interstellar Domination which bumped up against the Roidhunate would not like that mirror image of itself! I can imagine both powers being ferociously hostile to one another. Even more so than the hostility Merseia had for the far milder Terran Empire!

Glory to the Emperor! Sean

Paul Shackley said...

There are also the Dennitzan Merseians, of course.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Darn, I forgot about the Dennitzan Merseians! I have wondered if some descended from the losers in the power struggles over who would unify Merseia. They might have emigrated from Merseia to settle on Dennitza. Or, were simply kicked out by the winners!


David Birr said...

I don't see the Merseian regime as being one to "kick out" the losers in an ideological struggle. Rather, it'd do its best to break the weaker side to its will, and NOT let untamed nonconformists leave.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID!

Good points! After all, Stalin and Hitler did not kick out their internal opponents or dissidents (with the exception of Trotsky for Stalin). Rather, they were eliminated or broken to the will of the dominant faction. Something very similar may have happened with the losers in the struggles leading to the unification of Merseia by the Vachs originating around the Wilwidh Ocean.

So, it's simpler to think the Merseians who emigrated to Dennitza did so for non-political reasons.