Monday, 14 December 2015

Brotherhood And Order

In Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic History, another force for order is the Order of Planetary Engineers, which even thwarts a plot by the discredited and exiled psychotechnicians. Appropriately, "Brake," the last story set in the pre-interstellar period, features an Engineer who is also a Rostomily Brother. The Brotherhood had disbanded three centuries previously (the Chronology seems to be wrong on this point) but the Order must have kept some of the cells.

However, the fact that humanity is only three decades away from the Second Dark Ages is sufficient proof that the UN attempt to build a single sane world civilization has failed. Instead of uniting, Earth is split between Oriental Kali worshipers and Occidental protechnological puritans. The latter sound like a legacy of the earlier Pilgrims. Complicating matters further:

the Kali worshipers are only one branch of the Ramakrishian Eclectics;
there are pro-Technic Asians and Kali-worshiping Americans;
there are also Husseinite Moslems and a New Christendom.

Earth is in a mess. A spaceship captain consoles himself by reflecting:

"Thank all kindly gods that there were men on other planets now! The harvest of all the patient centuries since Galileo would not be entirely lost, whatever happened to Earth."
-Poul Anderson, Cold Victory (New York, 1982), p. 234.

And, indeed, the rest of the Psychotechnic History is about humanity outside the Solar System with only two brief passages set back on Earth.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Aha! Worshipers of Kali? That reminded me of the devotees of Kali whom we see in S.M. Stirling's THE PESHAWAR LANCERS. But I don't think these Kali sank as low as those we see in Stirling's story. Or have they? After all, the historical worshipers of Kali/Thugs did practice murder and human sacrifices as pleasing to Kali/Satan.

And what exactly was this "New Christendom"? We don't know!