Saturday, 26 October 2013
entrepreneurs, including "Traders";
Cordies (Coordination Service field agents);
stellagraphic survey men.
These social groups are not presented in a linear sequence but weave in and out of the narrative:
Nomads, introduced in the opening story of the period, and a Cordy, introduced in an intermediate story, join forces in the concluding novel of the period;
colonists and natives interact in two of the stories;
a survey man discovers an unusual isolated colony in "Virgin Planet", which exists both as a story and as a novel;
one story features one Trader who disparages Cordies but would have benefited from their advice.
Clearly, this period could have been expanded indefinitely.
The successive periods of the History are:
World War III aftermath;
UN world government;
Second Dark Ages;
Third Dark Ages;
interstellar Empires not covered by any of the stories;
Anderson compares his "Traders", who flourish in the Stellar Union period, to the Vikings, who were celebrated in the First Dark Ages, and to the Martian war lords, who were celebrated in the Second Dark Ages, so, by implication, these Traders will be celebrated during the Third Dark Ages. Ironically, Anderson gives us several volumes about Vikings but no story about his Martian war lords.
The outcome of "Teucan", the story about the Trader, is entirely predictable so it is to Anderson's credit that he is able to keep the story going interestingly for seventeen pages.