Saturday, 5 July 2014

Wings Of Victory V

The supposed animals of Ythri attack with arrows, spears and a trumpet but Turekian has just deduced how they can be intelligent and has mutinied in order to enforce a retreat that saves the lives of his two companions and himself. This might be the completest synthesis in Poul Anderson's works of beloved action-adventure fiction with brilliant speculative fiction (the other meaning of "sf") - overlapping with detective fiction: clues, deductions and a solution.

The future is prefigured:

the Ythrians welcome extraplanetary contact;
they offer inducements to trade;
the narrator is sure that they will soon have their own spacecraft;
some of them hope that robots will replace slaves.

We see these developments later in the Technic History. The narrator says that Ythrians maintain civilization without cities whereas, of course, what they maintain is rural social organization. "Civilization" means urban social organization.

It is appropriate that "Lodestar," the concluding trader team story, shows van Rijn traveling in an Ythrian spaceship. The interstellar Domain of Ythri survives the collapse of the Polesotechnic League and there is no reason why it should decline and fall simultaneously with the Terran Empire and the Merseian Roidhunate. Dominic Flandry, contemplating the Long Night after the Empire, regards the human-Ythrian colony planet Avalon as hopeful.

(I call "Lodestar" the concluding trader team story because Mirkheim is not a conclusion but a sequel in which the old team is reassembled one last time after a long interval and not for its original purpose.)


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Actually, we don't know that the Domain of Ythri originated during the time of the Polesotechnic League. The impression I got from reading THE PEOPLE OF THE WIND is that the Domain, like the Empire, arose or had its origins during the Time of Troubles. And for similar reasons: the need to defend its culture/civilization, and to driving out or suppressing barbarian invaders, warlords, and pirates. Therefore, I would guess the Domain arose about or near the time the Empire was proclaimed: AD 2700.

Similarly, we don't know what happened to the Domain when the Empire finally fell. Such a huge disaster would CERTAINLY affect its neighors very negatively!


Paul Shackley said...

I think you are right about the Domain originating later than I suggested.
Just as the cessation of Imperial control does not automatically mean loss of civilization on every planet within the Imperial sphere, the Domain itself should continue to operate, even if adversely affected.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Thinking about this has made me decide the Domain was somewhat youngerthan the Empire, but only by about 50 years or so. Also, it expanded more slowly than did the Empire and controlled a sphere of space only about 80 light years across in diameter. So, somewhere around AD 2750 seems right for dating the beginning of the Domain.

Yes, it is possible the Domain survived the Fall of the Empire, altho we don't know that.