Friday, 20 April 2012

More Than Just Three Series

(i) Six stories;
(ii) the careers of Nicholas van Rijn and of his protege David Falkayn in the twenty fifth century;
(iii) four stories and one novel;
(iv) Dominic Flandry's early career in the opening decades of the thirty first century;
(v) one story and one novel;
(vi) the rest of Flandry's career later in the thirty first century;
(vii) three stories and one novel.

This summary shows that Anderson's Technic History is more than just the van Rijn series followed by the Falkayn and Flandry series. Seventeen other works are set before, between, during or after these periods. The van Rijn period is more than just the van Rijn series. Adzel and Falkayn appear separately before working for van Rijn. Flandry begins to be succeeded by his daughter, Diana. This is a series where details matter because they add to the richness of later works.

The Trader Team sequence, in which Falkayn and Adzel work for van Rijn, is just five works. In one of these, "Lodestar," van Rijn travels in a spaceship crewed by winged Ythrians. All these characters have rich backgrounds. The Trader Team sub-series is preceded by:

two stories about Ythrians (on the planets Ythri and Gray/Avalon);
six works about van Rijn;
one story about Adzel;
two about Falkayn (on the planets Ivanhoe and Vanessa);
a second story set on Ivanhoe;
yet another set much earlier. 

The sub-series is followed by two stories in which Falkayn has led the joint human-Ythrian colonization of Avalon. The first features his grandson. Next, the Terran Empire is founded in one short story and annexes the colony planet Ansa in a second short story but fails to annex Avalon in a novel. Dominic Flandry defends the Empire during the period covered by nine volumes, then four works succeed the Fall of the Empire. That, finally, completes the History.

We do not see some of the details. At the end of "Lodestar," we know that Falkayn will marry van Rijn's granddaughter. At the beginning of Mirkheim, we know that she had joined the Trader Team but had stopped traveling with them when she started to have children. Thus, we do not read any stories with Coya as part of the team. In the novel about the Terran War on Avalon, Liaw of The Tarns addresses the Great Kruath of Avalon from outside the house of David Falkayn, 

"...on the olden site, First Island in the Hesperian Sea..." (1)

but we have not seen David and his family living in the house. We do not see old van Rijn lead his proposed expedition outside known space. Nor are we told how any of the leading characters die. Many more volumes would have been needed to tell the whole story but the series does illuminate a few places on a timeline stretching from 2055 to 7100.

(1) Anderson, Poul, The People of the Wind, London, 1977, p. 107.

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