Friday, 3 July 2015
SM Stirling gives us John Rolfe VI, Captain in the US Army and descendant of Confederates. Is Rolfe an all round admirable character like Carter? Stirling gives us different perspectives. Our other hero Tom calls Rolfe ruthless and the sympathetic character, physicist Ralph Barnes, not only refuses to help Rolfe conquer other universes but also calls him a fascist to his face - a misuse of the term "fascist" but it helps to identify Barnes' social milieu. Despite this defiance, Barnes is allowed to flourish in New Virginia although not, of course, to leave it, and even becomes a friend and adviser of Rolfe's rebellious granddaughter.
Stirling shows us social and psychological complexities that were beyond ERB's horizons.