Friday, 30 January 2015


Which would you have preferred to read?:

a Diana Crowfeather series and, in general, more about the Technic History or -

the Harvest of Stars tetralogy and Genesis.

Of course we would have preferred to have had more of all these series but, given that even a prolific author has a finite lifespan, I think that Poul Anderson made the right choice by creating new future histories instead of merely extending an already successful one.

(Even Genesis, a single volume, can be analyzed as a series since many of its chapters are set in different historical periods or, in some cases, in different geological epochs and could have been originally published as magazine installments, which was standard practice with much earlier sf.)

Faster than light interstellar travel and many alien races or slower than light interstellar travel and no alien races but artificial intelligence are diametrically opposed premises so Poul Anderson, a systematic writer, based major future histories on both sets of premises. Fortunately, he was able to write high quality prose quickly so that, for example, the later Harvest Of Stars became a tetralogy, not just a single novel, and Genesis, although short, is so compact that it must be read carefully to appreciate its content.

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