Thursday, 26 February 2015

Gunnar Heim's Consistency

Rereading Poul Anderson's Fire Time while remembering its prequel, The Star Fox, underlines what might be seen as Gunnar Heim's inconsistency. While the World Federation appeased the belligerent Aleriona, Heim gave a lead by waging a private war - literally private, as a privateer. Thirty years later, when the Federation did wage war against the Naqsa League, Heim denounced this war as imperialistic. A man can certainly change his views over thirty years but Heim hasn't. The two situations are entirely different.

The circumstances of the second interstellar war are worth spelling out:

each Terrestrial city has a large ghetto of the unemployable;
emigrants from some of these ghettoes have worked hard to build a colony in the inhospitable environment of the planet Mundomar;
another part of Mundomar has been colonized by the Naqsa, a species regarded as physically disgusting by many human beings;
declaring that possession of a second continent is necessary for their security, the human colonists occupy that continent and expel Nasqans from it;
the human colonists are backed by a powerful lobby and vested interests on Earth;
the Federation gives military support to the colonists.

Sounds familiar?

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