Thursday, 1 August 2013

Cold Victory

Of the short stories by Poul Anderson collected in Conquests (London, 1981):

the first is set in space;
the second is set during the Jurassic Period;
the third, "Cold Victory," is a conversation piece set in a tavern on Mars during an early period of Anderson's Psychotechnic future history.

Thus, three settings widely distributed through space and time. Conquests is a collection on the theme of war. In "Cold Victory," war and history are discussed not just indirectly by the author but also directly by the characters:

a Martian (human colonial) academic;
a man in the uniform of the Order of Planetary Engineers;
a woman wearing a kilt displaying the tartan of the Lucifer Clan on Venus (Anderson calls her a "Venusian" but the correct adjective, used by Wells, Stapledon and Heinlein, is "Venerian");
the narrator, a Captain in the Solar Guard.

They represent four inhabited planets, Mars, Luna, Venus and Earth. The Captain, from Earth, will suggest that the anti-Humanist counterrevolution was an example of accident, not law, determining history, but his argument will have to wait until I have had a night's sleep and a day of other activities.

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