Thursday, 17 December 2015
Contrasting Aspects Of A Future History Series
easy, regular, faster than light interstellar travel;
many habitable, easily colonizeable, Earth-like planets;
an alien race differing from humanity only in greater physical beauty -
- make me think of it more as set in an alternative reality verging on fantasy. Some of Anderson's early pulp stories, like "Witch Of The Demon Seas," present an alternative universe where human and other beings inhabit planets of different stars and there is the possibility of interstellar travel but at the same time magic works. The Peregrine is not in that category but not far from it either.
Any future history series links near future stories to far future stories. Near future stories, like "Marius" and "Un-Man," are much closer to our reality and present problems that we recognize. An Un-Man breaks into the apartment of an Americanist Guardsman, interrogates him, then kills him, making it look like suicide. He justifies this as an act of war and indeed the UN and "the gang" are waging an undeclared covert war. Many people believe that the mere declaration of a war justifies any killing ordered by our government - although, as soon as I write that, moral and even legal considerations intrude. There are such things as war crimes. Personally, I would not trust any existing government to tell me when to kill and would not have joined in the slaughter of 1914-'18 but would have seen the need to oppose Hitler, although not by mass bombing of German cities.
Back to the further future: although a Coordinator cooperating with Nomads thwarts a particular alien plot, the Coordination Service and the Stellar Union are soon to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of external threats:
"'The overworked integrators are years behind in correlating information...A thing can grow to monstrous proportions before they learn of it.'" (The Peregrine, p. 30)
What follows is the Third Dark Ages, similar to the Long Night in the Technic History, although in this series there are no stories set in the period following the breakdown.