Friday, 2 August 2013
License And Strange Bedfellows
"'...legalized, regulated crime, as the necessary safety valve.'" (p. 200)
They have even re-instituted weregild.
Anderson, of course, tells a neat story in this setting. His characters can always derive good outcomes from bad situations. But, guess what, this time I just do not buy the story's premise, at least not the part about legalized crime as a safety valve.
Along the way, we notice Anderson's parody of two TLA's (three letter abbreviations): the American Federation of Labor becomes the American Freebooters' Labor Union and the Congress of Industrial Organizations becomes the Criminal Industries Organization.
Vocabulary check: "...patty raiding..."? (p. 173)
I have only just started to read or reread (I cannot remember which) the seventh story, "Strange Bedfellows," so I do not yet know how it relates to the war theme. What I do notice here is science fiction (sf) cliches. Because we already know from the book's cover, if not also from its Foreword, that we are reading an "sf story," we have no trouble about immediately accepting background information that would otherwise be bizarre. With the narrative starting in the midst of the action, we must quickly take on board that a group of human beings, including one colonist of Venus, is terraforming the Moon, with help from a native Martian. We accept all this so quickly only because we are already used to sf scenarios in which there can be Martians, colonies on other planets and terraforming projects.
All of this is already familiar to us even though this is a one-off story, not part of any series. In fact, the assumptions that Venus might be colonizable and that Mars could be inhabited probably even help us to date the story to some extent?