Wednesday, 2 April 2014
That Uncomfortable Pause Between Finishing Reading One Book And Starting To Read Another
Man-Kzin Wars IV has been dispatched so I will shortly post about Poul Anderson's third contribution to that series. I might then read the rest of that volume and also reread stories by other authors in Volumes I, III and IV although, if I subsequently post about those other Man-Kzin Wars stories, it will be on the Science Fiction blog.
In "Inconstant Star," the kzin, Weoch-Captain, thinks:
"The real mockery came from the stars in the viewport, multitudes and majesty, a hunting ground unbounded. He bared fangs at them. We shall range among you yet, he vowed; we shall do with you what we will." (III, p. 261)
This recalls the Merseian, Brechdan Ironrede:
"'...the highest end of all - absolute freedom for our race, to make of the galaxy what they will.'"
- Young Flandry (New York, 2010), p. 27.
And Ironrede tells his newest grandcub:
"'You shall have stars for toys...Wudda, wudda, wudda.'" (op. cit., p. 28)
But, as when a kzinti admiral invoked the destiny of the race, I am not sure that it is appropriate to make the kzinti sound too similar to Merseians. The latter are indeed long term racial strategists whereas the former are so impulsive and aggressive that they lash out and fight among themselves if they are cooped up in a spaceship without any action for too long. In fact, in this respect, they strain credulity:
"'What they taught us in school. A sapient species doesn't reach space unless the members learn to cooperate. They'll wreck the environment one way or another, war or straight libertarianism or overbreeding...'"
- Niven, Larry, "Madness Has Its Place" IN Niven, Ed, Man-Kzin Wars III (New York, 1990), pp. 3-34 AT p. 14.