Sunday, 10 February 2013

Four Series And Poul Anderson

Several times on this blog, I have referred to Isaac Asimov's Foundation, and less often, though in the same vein, to Star Trek, Star Wars and Frank Herbert's Dune. (EE Smith's very badly written Lensman series is perhaps in the same category but let's leave that out of the discussion.)

Star Wars is films with book and comic spin-offs. Star Trek is multi-media but primarily TV and film. Dune moved in the opposite direction. First, it was famous, at least among sf fans, as a long novel with several sequels. Then, it was adapted for both cinema and TV. Of the series mentioned so far (outside brackets), only Foundation has not yet appeared on screen but is well known nevertheless.

Both Asimov and Herbert present a humans-only galaxy but add altered human beings and artificial intelligences. (Asimov has one Galactic Empire story where non-human intelligences flee the galaxy and Foundation And Earth ends with the threat of extra-galactic intelligences.)

All four series present the rise and fall of interstellar civilizations, usually "Empires," with FTL travel. In other words, as I have said before, they do what Poul Anderson's less well known History of Technic Civilization does far better. Thus, a good way to present Anderson's main future history series is to say precisely this.


Anderson's Terran Empire with the Galactic Empire(s);
Dominic Flandry with James Kirk;
Merseians and Chereionites with Klingons and Vulcans;
Chunderban Desai with Hari Seldon;
Hans Molitor with Paul Atreides;
the Polesotechnic League with Foundation Traders;
Aeneas with Arrakis;
the sincere religious beliefs of Adzel and Axor with the cynical manipulation of popular religion by the Foundation, Bene Gesserit and Atreides - as well as by Anderson's Aycharaych; 
the Long Night with Asimov's post-Imperial period;

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