Sunday, 16 November 2014

Fiction And Reality

Learning about real social conflicts, as I did at a Conference in London yesterday, can make us think that reality is far more complicated than fiction. No doubt it is but with some qualifications. First, if Poul Anderson's Technic civilization did exist, then it would be in every way as complicated as our current civilization. Indeed, it would be a development from it.

Secondly, Anderson conveys such complexity very effectively:

conflicts between three factions within the Polesotechnic League, including one faction that is in cahoots with the government of the Solar Commonwealth and another that is secretly arming the Baburites;

dissatisfactions in several other sections of Technic civilization - the poorer planets, Merseia and Babur;

a hidden conflict even between van Rijn and Falkayn about the issue of the poorer planets;

various resentments and campaigns within the multi-layered aristocratic society of Falkayn's home planet, Hermes;

actions by several of these interacting groups precipitating the first of a series of civil wars that will wreck the League and the Commonwealth, leaving Earth defenseless against barbarians armed by irresponsible League merchants.

As usual, when I list elements of the Technic History, the list turns out to be longer and more complicated than I had expected. My next topic will be the Chaos, the transition from our twentieth century to Anderson's Technic civilization.

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