Monday, 25 May 2015

Service To The Coordinator

Poul Anderson, Starfarers (New York, 1999).

In Chapter 21, Earth is ruled by the Dominacy. In Chapter 44, it is ruled by the Governance. Anderson is telling us that there are changes of regime but not of fundamental social relationships. (Someone once joked that, in America, man exploited man whereas, in Russia, it was the other way around.)

In the Terran Empire of Flandry's time, they say, "Glory to the Emperor!" In the Governance, they say, "Service to the Coordinator." (p. 413) In both cases, the head of state does not necessarily measure up. Terra suffers under Josip and, in the Governance, the Executive of North Meric responds without enthusiasm:

"Perhaps he was thinking of that painted giggler who sat in the Uldan Palace." (p. 413)

In the Governance, the Seladorians, who will rule Earth when the Envoy returns, are still a persecuted minority. Anderson uses Chapter 44 to add to the Kith History. Selador's "'...father was a Kithman who left his ship to marry an Arodish woman.'" (p. 413) Seladorianism is a split from Arodism. We meet a Kith convert to Seladorianism. Anderson surprises us by introducing a young viewpoint character, Panthos, who serves the Coordinator, protects some Seladorians from Arods and is killed with a slug through the skull.

However, in any case, Panthos' role was only to appear in this single chapter which shows us that Earth will not have made itself fit to receive the new knowledge and perspectives brought by the Envoy.

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