Sunday, 27 January 2013


If, by a "series," we mean at least two items, then Poul Anderson has one more futuristic science fiction series, The Star Fox and Fire Time, which I will reread next, having previously read it perhaps once a very long time ago.

What can I remember?

(i) Anderson made it a rule to invent a new rationalization for FTL (faster than light) travel every time that it was needed in a new independent story or series. I remember reading one such rationalization in The Star Fox. Whatever it was, it has to have differed from the kind of multiple quantum jump hyperdrive used in his Technic History.

(ii) The alien races encountered of course differ from those in any other Anderson books.

(iii) At least in The Star Fox, Earth is still divided into familiar nation-states, including France.

(iv) The hero of the first book cameos in a TV interview in the second book which is set maybe twenty years later and deals with a different alien species.

(v) Fire Time makes this point:

if we work eight hours and sleep eight hours, then we cannot spend the remaining eight hours commuting;
if home and work are that far apart, then we move one or both so that they are nearer;
since we need time for eating and other activities, there is a top possible limit to commuting time, maybe four hours max?;
technology has changed how far we can travel in that time but cannot change the time itself;
there are few absolute limits but this is one;
a quadrupedal species able to trot or gallop comfortably would spread its work and domestic spaces over a wide geographical area.

Here Anderson both imagines an alien species and uses this to comment on taken for granted aspects of human life.

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