Sunday, 17 February 2013

Echoes Of Heinlein II

In Poul Anderson's Three Worlds To Conquer (London, 1966):

" 'If the Sam Halls really can establish the kind of cooperative peace authority they promise, why, that solves the whole problem...' " (p. 11)

A cooperative peace authority preventing nuclear war would be the equivalent of the Space Patrol in Robert Heinlein's "The Long Watch," part of his Future History, and Space Cadet, part of his Juvenile Future History.

The Histories share:

the Patrol and its hero, John Ezra Dahlquist;
Rhysling, the Blind Singer of the Spaceways, author of "The Green Hills of Earth";
a lunar family called Stone;
frog-like Venerians;
contemplative Martians.

The concern about how to prevent nuclear war was an issue when these works were written. (Since then, the issue has become how to prevent Iran or North Korea from following the example of the Great Powers by acquiring nuclear weapons.) In these works, sf writers were addressing the issue of already existing nuclear weapons and thus were not, on this occasion, extrapolating future technology. However, both Wells and Heinlein had projected nuclear weaponry before it existed. In "Solution Unsatisfactory," not part of any series, Heinlein predicted a nuclear stand-off and could offer no solution to it. Maybe it is significant that this story did not have a sequel.

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