Sunday, 20 December 2015

Fifty Thousand Years

According to the Chronology of the Psychotechnic Series prepared by Sandra Miesel, the Third Dark Ages begin in 3200 and "The Chapter Ends" is set post-4000. Miesel's interstitial note introducing "The Chapter Ends" reads:

"By the uncertain dawn of the fifth millennium, Earth's farflung children had all but forgotten her." (Starship, p. 252)

However, "The Chapter Ends" itself says:

"'The Sirius Sector has been an isolated, primi - ah - quiet region since the First Empire fell, fifty thousand years ago.'" (p. 263)

The time scale and also the references both to a fallen First Empire and to Sirian Sector planets inhabited by peasants place this work more in the milieu of Anderson's "Flight to Forever." Again, the reference to Sol City as the capital of the First Empire (p. 272) prima facie links this work to Anderson's "The Star Plunderer," although that pulp short story was instead shoehorned into the author's later Technic History.

The political units in the Psychotechnic History are Unions (Solar and Stellar), not Empires. We are told enough about the First Empire to know that it is not the Stellar Union remembered under a different name.

What links "The Chapter Ends" to the Psychotechnic History? References to psychotechnicians, an Integrator and a trained nervous system. Also, in "The Peregrine," humanity is expanding towards the Sagittarii. In "The Chapter Ends," the bulk of humanity has migrated to the Galactic Center and one, visiting Earth, says:

"'This part of space means means nothing to us any more; it's almost a desert. You haven't seen starlight till you've been by Sagittarius.'" (p. 262)

A concluding note on an unfamiliar word:

"...he went with the Nomads through that abatis of woods." (The Peregrine, Chapter XX, p. 178)

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