Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Time Travel And Future Histories

In The Time Machine, social classes devolve into separate species whereas, in The Shape Of Things To Come, revolution ends class divisions. Thus, HG Wells describes fictitious historical processes in a time travel story and a future history.

In the Time Patrol series, humanity evolves into a superior species after many past pivotal events whereas in several alternative future histories, humanity:

is artificially mutated and migrates to the galactic centre;
spreads through several spiral arms;
coexists with artificial intelligence;
is superseded but re-created, both electronically and biologically, by post-organic intelligence.

Thus, Poul Anderson describes real historical processes in a time travel series and fictitious historical processes in several future histories. Thus, also, Anderson's many volumes on time travel and future histories are worthy successors of Wells' two such volumes.

In these works by Wells and Anderson, humanity undergoes:

devolution;
revolution;
evolution;
mutation;
extinction;
duplication;
re-creation.

By "duplication," I mean the electronic re-creation for which Anderson coins the term "emulation." This re-creation reproduces consciousness so it is a duplication, not a mere simulation, of humanity.

4 comments:

  1. Between Wells and Anderson in the lineage of future historians are Olaf Stapledon and Robert Heinlein.

    Sean Brooks,
    Thank you for forwarding the photocopy of Heinlein's postscript to some editions of REVOLT IN 2100, "Concerning Stories Never Written". I had known of this postscript but had never read it. It is a fascinating insight into Heinlein and his series and an essential part of the History that should be included in any future editions. Its argument about the danger of a theocracy is unfortunately still true, or even more true, today.

    Sean, thank you also for a copy of Anderson's THERMONUCLEAR WARFARE. I will read this and discuss it here.

    Paul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Paul!

      Truth to say, I'm skeptical about a Protestant theocracy ever coming to power in the US the way Heinlein postulated. I think the danger we face is from fanatics treating an ideology, big gov't socialism, like a religion. That is what we really face in the US from the hard left. The religious "impulse to theocracy" many Americans might have had has been secularized into what Eric Voegelin called "immanentizing the eschaton."

      Glad you got my extra copy of THERMONUCLEAR WARFARE. I look forward to reading what you think of the book despite me thinking it's rather dated. I do wish Poul Anderson had written more non fiction!

      Alas, despite my taping and gluing, the copy I gave you still has loose pages!

      Sean

      Delete
  2. Isaac Asimov was worried that Fundamentalism could gain political control. Hopefully not, but just imagine it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Paul!

      The danger we face is LEFT WING fundamentalism taking over. Big government socialism. The overcentralized god state.

      Sean

      Delete