Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Immediate Future

We have accompanied Poul Anderson:

through prehistory and history to the twentieth century;
through future histories to alternative destinies;
through space and time to the end and beyond;
through multiple timelines to an inter-cosmic inn;
through mental transformations to a higher intelligence.

Because we went from Mars through space to the end of the universe and back to the human mind, I have yet to finish reading SM Stirling's major contribution to the imaginative literature of Mars.

Tomorrow, 11.00-18.00, is Lancaster Comics Day at the Public Library with local talents like John Freeman and Andy Diggle, followed, for me, by a family meal. Thus, little time for either reading or posting.

On the question of mental transformations, I have been advised to check out Adyashanti.

6 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I'm eager to know what you think of the last parts of IN THE COURTS OF THE CRIMSON KINGS and any general conclusions you have about the book. I liked the book, despite agreeing with you that Stirling's Martian hominids are not as "empathetic" as the Venerian hominids. But, I consider that to be a plus in Stirling's favor, as showing him being able to plausibly depict different kinds of hominids (aside from my criticisms of his treatment of the Venerian Neanderthals).

    It's also my view that you can find homages or allusions to Burroughs, Tolkien, and Poul Anderson in COURTS. And I recently thought, as you know, of how there is an Asimovian allusion as well.

    Sean

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  2. Sean,
    Anderson is with others in the Prologue, of course, but so far I have only really found allusions to ERB in the novel. Still not quite finished it yet.
    Paul.

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    1. Kaor, Paul!

      Well, I thought things like "the Kings Beneath the Mountain," a title used by the Crimson Emperors, a Tolkienian touch. Recall THE HOBBIT, where the Dwarf Thorin claimed the title of the "King Under the Mountain" from his forebears.

      And, I would argue that Stirling's attention to describing details of character, background, scientific plausibility, etc., is itself very Andersonian. But, yes, the DIRECT allusion to him is only in the Prologue, where we see Poul Anderson.

      I know of people who complain that writers like Tolkien and Anderson were far too detailed in describing backgrounds and characters. They wanted action and adventure all the way thru, with no pauses for thought, reflection, or explanation. I disagree with such views, of course!

      And the bits from the fictional edition of the ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA prefacing every chapter of both THE SKY PEOPLE and IN THE COURTS OF THE CRIMSON KINGS seemed Asimovian to me. Recall how Asimov preface the chapters of the original FOUNDATION books with extracts from his fictional ENCYCLOPEDIA GALACTICA.

      Sean

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  3. Well, I can think of several other authors who preface most or all chapters in some works with fictional historical documents. Jack Vance's *Demon Princes* novels, in particular, sometimes devoted as much as two-and-a-half pages to preface before the chapter proper began. *Dune*, too, is chock-full of such prefaces (though I don't recall any as long as Vance's).

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    1. Dear Mr. Birr,

      Alas, having read shamefully little of Jack Vance, I did not know of how he prefaced many of his stories with fictional historical documents. And I have noticed how DUNE's chapters are prefaced with quotes from the works of Princess Irulan and other contemporaries of Paul Muad-dib Atreides.

      Poul Anderson might have done something like that if he hadn't preferred to more often incoroporate "info dumps" directly inside chapters rather than as prefaces. We do see occasional chapter prefaces in Anderson's works, but not very often.

      Sean

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