Sunday, 2 June 2013
The Technic History And Anderson's Genesis
(i) The Technic History is a series written sporadically from 1951 to 1985 whereas Genesis is a single work published in 2000.
(ii) Both are future histories. However, the History is an originally unplanned Heinleinian future history series comprising stories and novels covering several centuries and millennia whereas Genesis synthesizes the Heinleinian and Stapledonian future history models by covering millions of years with some chapters featuring characters and conversations (the Heinlein model) but others summarizing Solar and galactic developments on much longer time scales (the Stapledon model):
"Sol swung onward through its orbit, once around galactic center in almost two hundred million years..." (Genesis, New York, 2001, p. 96)
(iii) In the Technic History, consciousness-level computers were developed but discontinued because they lacked intuition whereas, in Genesis, it is inter-linked post-organic intelligences that gradually become a Stapledonian galactic brain.
(iv) Some parts of the Technic History are based on John K Hord's theory of history. According to that theory, the failure of the fifteenth-century ecclesiastical conciliar movement was a breakdown point for Western European society. Genesis features an AI "emulation" in which that movement succeeded, restoring power from the papacy to the bishops, thus preventing the Reformation. I still think that, in any history that went beyond feudalism, bourgeois individualism would have led to private interpretation of scripture, salvation by "faith alone" and "predestination" fantastically reflecting the unaccountability of success in a competitive economy. All of these changed religious beliefs would entail a challenge to the authority not only of the Pope but also of bishops and priests.