Saturday, 5 July 2014
"Wings of Victory"
"The Problem of Pain"
These first three stories of Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization are phenomenally rich in characters and content. Each of the stories features a different crew of space explorers with distinctive personalities and conflicts. Although no continuing characters are introduced, solid foundations are laid for a major future history.
We do meet for the first time:
one Christian denomination;
one alien race;
two terrestroid planets -
- that will be important later and there are also passing references to another four significant planets: Cynthia, Woden, Hermes and Aeneas.
Continuing characters start to be introduced in the fourth, fifth and sixth stories:
Adzel in "How To Be Ethnic In One Easy Lesson";
van Rijn in "Margin of Profit";
Falkayn in "The Three-Cornered Wheel."
Only after that do we begin to learn which characters will have continuing roles and even then there are some stories, like "Esau" and "A Little Knowledge," in which these characters do not appear. This is definitely the most substantial beginning to a future history that I have read.