Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Rogue

In Poul Anderson's Tales Of The Flying Mountains (New York, 1984), "The Rogue," the second of the seven stories, describes only the first of the incidents that led to the Asteroid Revolution so it looks like there are more to come. The story contains technical, military, economic and political complexities so I was right to delay reading it until I had started to feel a bit better.

Gyrogravitics, whose role is minimal in this story, is the only technological innovation here. It is a means of gravitational control - the equivalent of Well's Cavorite, Blish's graviton polarity generators ("spindizzies") or the "gravitrons" in another Anderson series. (While we are on the subject of fictional technologies, "3V" is mentioned as a background detail as it was in the last couple of Anderson works that I read.) Apart from the "geegees," or "Emetts" (named after their inventor), all the technology in the story is feasible as of the time of writing, as far as I can tell, not being scientifically educated.

A couple of political issues are mentioned but this is the decisive one for the Revolution:

" 'What the new government wants is something like the eighteenth-century English policy toward America. Keep the colonies as a source of raw materials and as a market for manufactured goods, but don't let them develop a domestic industry.' " (p. 85)

OK. I support the Revolution.

Use of spaceships loaded with dense Jovian atmosphere as a weapon is familiar from Anderson's Three Worlds To Conquer and I forgot to mention when discussing that novel that a spaceship functioning like a bathysphere in the Jovian atmosphere was familiar from "Brake" in the Psychotechnic History. This is not to say that Anderson repeats himself ad nauseam. Far from it. Related ideas are put to different good effect in each new work.

The end of "The Rogue" makes us think that its viewpoint character wound up with one of the women in the story whereas, at the end of "Interlude 2," we realize that he wound up with the other one.

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