Sunday, 20 April 2014

Back To The Future History IV

As I said a couple of posts ago, I would change the titles and slightly re-arrange the contents of the first two volumes of Baen Books' The Technic Civilization Saga by Poul Anderson. Thus, instead of:

The Van Rijn Method (collecting 11 works);
David Falkayn: Star Trader (7) -

- there would be:

Rise Of The Polesotechnic League; (9)
Decline Of The Polesotechnic League. (9)

The nine works in Vol I would comprise:

2 about Ythrians;
2 about van Rijn;
2 about Falkayn;
2 set on the planet Ivanhoe;
2 others.

That adds up to nine because one of the stories is about Falkayn on Ivanhoe!

The nine works in Vol II would comprise:

2 about van Rijn in space;
2 about van Rijn on Earth;
2 about Falkayn's trader team, working for van Rijn;
2 equally featuring van Rijn and the trader team;
1 other.

That summary gives some indication of the diversity and interconnectedness of the series. According to Sandra Miesel's Chronology of Technic Civilization, "Margin of Profit," introducing van Rijn, and "How To be Ethnic In One Easy Lesson," introducing Adzel, a later member of the trader team, occur in the same year, 2416, although that can only be a guess and an approximation.

In "How To Be Ethnic...," James Ching refers to "...the Brotherhood..." and thinks:

"If I'd been apprenticed to a Master Merchant of the Polesotechnic League..."
- The Van Rijn Method (New York, 2009), pp. 177, 178.

In "Margin of Profit," Lodgemaster Captain Rafael Torres of the Federated Brotherhood of Spacefarers tells van Rijn:

"'We assume you will be a spokesman for the master merchants of the League.'"
- David Falkayn: Star Trader (New York, 2010), p. 140.

Thus, "How To Be Ethnic..." mentions both the Brotherhood and the League, with its Master Merchants, whereas "Margin of Profit" not only explains the League but also features both a Master Merchant and a Brotherhood Lodgemaster. For these reasons, I think that the order of the stories in the collection should be reversed, with "How To Be Ethnic..." coming first. The reader should receive hints and clues about the functioning of the League before learning more of the details. The first appearance of the towering figure of van Rijn should be delayed until the fourth story in the series so that we have been introduced, as far as possible, to Technic Civilization before focusing on a particular individual within it.

Ching lives in San Francisco Integrate and, later, one of van Rijn's penthouses is on the roof of the Winged Cross in Chicago Integrate. Although most of the action and interest of the series is located off Earth, this repeated use of the term "Integrate" gives a sense of a heavily urbanized Earth providing the economic basis for van Rijn's exploits in space.


  1. Hi, Paul!

    I see you mentioned Sandra Miesel's Technic Civilization chronology. As you know I wrote a long article criticizing what I hold to be flaws, errors, and defects in that chronology. And offering a drastically revised version of that Time Line which I believe better fitted the evidence I culled from the texts.

    For example, Sandra Miesel suggested AD 2476 as the birth date of Nicholas van Rijn. And that the Council of Hiawatha took place in 2500. Comparisons of the evidence to be found in the texts led me to believe Miesel erred in her dating of van Rijn's (altho I accepted her date for the Council). I concluded by arguing Old Nick was born in AD 2522, because the Mirkheim/Babur crisis was explicitly stated to have occcured a century after the Council of Hiawatha. And since van Rijn was said to be 80 years old in MIRKHEIM, he could NOT have been born at or before the time of the Council.

    I discussed other flaws and defects in Miesel's chronology, along with my proposed solutions. But the case I mentioned above was an esp. clear error contradicted by explicit evidence I found in the text of MIRKHEIM.

    Hmmm, I don't want to seem to be vain, but do you think it might be a good idea to again post at the "head" of the blog my second, revised version of the essay I wrote about Miesel's chronology? I even hope Sandra Miesel might see it and comment on my essay!


    1. Hi, Paul!

      Thanks for putting my article on Sandra Miesel's Technic History chronology again at the "head" of your blog. And, I see I too made a mistake in my comments here about Old Nick's birth date, it should have been AD 2422 not 2522! (Smiles)