Friday, 6 September 2013

No Truce With Kings II

Poul Anderson's "No Truce With Kings" (Winners, New York, 1981) combines themes that Anderson more than once treated separately elsewhere:

military maneuvers;
post-nuclear reconstruction;
interstellar travel;
covert alien manipulation of human society;
a practical science of society, in this case applied by the aliens.

So does it all hang together?

So far, twenty seven pages into the narrative, we have had:

autumn, the viewpoint of Colonel Mackenzie;
an italicized dialogue between two of the aliens;
spring, the viewpoint of Mackenzie's son-in-law, on the opposite side in a civil war, in conversation with an as yet unexplained Esper (they have communities and teachings, not just psychic powers);
winter, back to Mackenzie although (this is not the author's fault) without a warning gap in the text;
information about the complicated social set-up in North America.

Thus, a characteristically substantial Andersonian text, too early to say whether it is all coming together or pulling in opposite directions.


  1. Hi, Paul!

    I would add to your list of features in "No Truce With Kings" Anderson's preference for decentralized government. Which in this story took the form of a landed aristocracy which imposed severe limits on the powers of the state. With, by the time of this story, the rise of a party opposing not only feudalism but also advocating the conquest and unification of North America.


  2. Sean,
    Yes, and they talk about RE-unification of the continent.

    1. Hi, Paul!

      True! I could be literal minded and say the anti feudalists wanted to include in their empire what used to be Canada and Mexico as well as the old USA.