Monday, 15 June 2015
Texts And Contexts
"The Saturn Game" reflects Anderson's life-long interest in astronomy and, in particular, the fact that Voyager One was about to scan Iapetus shortly before this story, set on that Saturnian moon, was due to be published;
"The Master Key" is included because "This book would be incomplete without a van Rijn yarn..." (p. 153);
"The Problem of Pain" is included to showcase the Ythrians, a fictional species that had resulted from a suggestion made by John W Campbell.
When introducing "The Problem of Pain" in Going For Infinity, Anderson does at last mention that:
he had been writing stories about Flandry of the Terran Empire;
he had realized that van Rijn could have lived centuries before Flandry;
this generated further stories about how the libertarianism of the earlier period had devolved into the decadence of the later period and about what came after that;
in this history, human beings and Ythrians jointly colonized a planet which some of them explore in "The Problem of Pain."
Thus, much of the History is briefly summarized but almost as an afterthought and the involvement of "The Saturn Game" is not mentioned, nor is Flandry included in this volume. These three stories could also be reprinted in anthologies covering, respectively:
exploration of the Solar System;
treatment of theological issues in sf.