Old Mars in September. The latter, which includes a Stirling "Lords of Creation" story is an anthology based on the same theme as the "Lords of Creation" series.
Meanwhile, back in Poul Anderson's "Genius," the Solarian Empire is threatened by:
human barbarians beyond the Imperial borders;
nonhuman border barbarians;
the Magellanics attacking every century with unimaginable weapons.
Given these external threats, the marshal thinks that any internal disruption could be fatal. Internal order is kept by:
toleration of local gods;
a state church with the Emperor as the material incarnation of the divine Spirit;
state control of commerce and travel;
psychotechnic preparation and supervision of popular entertainment;
rigid birth control;
complete sexual freedom as an outlet;
early selection and training of the ablest children for government work;
unlimited opportunities for promotion.
Incorporation of the ablest is always an astute move. "New men" are loyal to the regime that has promoted them, not to any vested interests within it. How effective is psychotechnic control of entertainment? Might the psychotechnicians learn anything from our advertisers or vice versa? Is such control compatible with the creation of valid art? The psychologist states, plausibly, that it generates "'...mediocrity.'" (Call me Joe, p. 201) Even a story with crude pulp premises yields interesting discussion when analyzed.
Social order and stability would indeed be precarious given certain familiar premises:
faster than light travel;
barbarians with access to spaceships and modern weapons -
- which is why Manuel Argos founds the Terran Empire in Anderson's History of Technic Civilization. But Manuel grants citizenship to worthy non-humans, unlike the Solarian Empire which exterminates aborigines.