Sunday, 25 October 2015

Road Reflections On Features Of Future Histories

While driving, we can remember and reflect but not read - although, of course, someone with an audio-book can listen. However, my reflections of today have merely reproduced the contents of earlier posts about Robert Heinlein's Future History and Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization.

Pyramids
A Heinlein-model future history has a pyramidal structure, i.e., earlier installments generate a base of background information on which the author then constructs his later installments. Thus, Methusaleh's Children, the fourth volume of Heinlein's Future History, refers to quite a lot:

Pinero the Charlatan
Road Cities
DD Harriman
Luna City
the Venerians
"The Green Hills of Earth"
the Prophets
the revolutionary Cabal
the Covenant
Coventry
Andrew Libby
the generation ship, the Vanguard

This novel is effectively the culmination of the History since the fifth and final volume, Orphans Of The Sky, recounting the fate of the lost Vanguard, is merely a coda.

In one story of Anderson's Technic History, Nicholas van Rijn forms his first trade pioneer crew, led by David Falkayn and including the Wodenite, Adzel. However, "before" this story, at least in terms of fictional chronology:

van Rijn had appeared in five stories and one novel;
Falkayn had appeared in two stories, first as an apprentice on Ivanhoe, then as a journeyman in van Rijn's company;
Adzel had appeared in one story;
one story recounted later events on Ivanhoe;
three stories had preceded any of these continuing characters.

Thus, the first trader team story was built on a base of thirteen earlier works. It in turn is followed by four works featuring the team and three set on a planet colonized by Falkayn. Both this planet and the flying species that jointly colonizes it with Falkayn's human beings were introduced in earlier stories. Thus, Anderson constructs a perfect pyramid.

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