Thursday, 24 October 2013
Poul Anderson wrote twenty installments of a "Psychotechnic" future history series. Sixteen of these were collected in three volumes, hence another "trilogy," although not, in this case, a complete collection of the series. Anderson later wrote several other future histories.
When the Psychotechnic History is considered as a unit, it can be seen to have remarkable parallels with the far better known Foundation series:
both Seldon's psychohistory and Valti's psychotechnics can be used to predict events and to direct society;
both are initially successful, with Seldon's Foundation defeating greater powers, including even the shrunken Empire, and the UN world government, advised by the Psychotechnic Institute, defeating nationalists, militarists and dictators;
however, Seldon was unable to predict a powerful individual mutant, the Mule, as psychotechnics is unable to prevent the social dissatisfaction caused by mass technological unemployment;
the Mule defeats the Foundation and the Humanist Revolution outlaws the Psychotechnic Institute;
however, the Foundation Trilogy ends with the psychohistorians on course to implement Seldon's Plan for a Second Galactic Empire while the Psychotechnic History ends with psychotechnicians coordinating Galactic Civilization long after the Fall of a First Empire.
So, to anyone who commends Foundation, Anderson fans can recommend the Psychotechnic History. This summary shows that Anderson addresses more plausible social issues.