Friday, 15 January 2016


Poul Anderson, "The Troublemakers" IN Anderson, Cold Victory (New York, 1982), pp. 31-110.

Of course, our hero must save the ship. Fortunately, Anderson makes it plausible that he should be able to do so. The mutineers guard the armory against anyone approaching along the corridors. However, Evan Friday, formerly of Astrogation, knows the plan of the ship. During the mutinously caused blackout, he is able to lead his men along dark corridors, avoiding key points held by mutineers, to an airlock. Walking across the outside of the ship in spacesuits with magnetic boots, they enter the armory by another airlock... This time, unlike in "Brake," Anderson spares us what could have been an interminable account of the fighting until the mutiny is defeated.

After the fighting, three men, the Captain, his assistant and the chief of Astrogation, explain the secret to Friday. The voyage will last one hundred and twenty three years. Approximately the first twenty years were spent completing the construction of the ship's interior. What is the crew to do for the remaining hundred years? Friday suggests science, music and the arts but is forced to concede that perhaps only ten per cent of the population can be occupied in this way. A static culture for the rest would not prepare them for the rigors of colonization.

However, the descendants of personnel chosen for energy, initiative and ability, looking for something worthwhile to do, will pursue personal aggrandizement! The psychological planners of the expedition knew that the original small private enterprises would become monopolies provoking reactions that could be predicted in general terms - although some events, like the great strike and the more recent riots and mutiny, did get out of control. Nevertheless, there is a plan. Asimov's Seldon would not have been able to make psychohistorical predictions about a few thousand people. His science and its Foundation Plan needed a Galactic population. But the few psychologists in the Pioneer are unable to predict its future history exactly.

Men like Wilson were allowed to pursue selfish ends but (i) they were to be defeated eventually and (ii) others responded more positively like Friday, who is to be the next Captain! Wilson was unexpectedly smart and nearly succeeded but, fortunately, Friday was on hand to stop him. The idealist Friday had been demoted precisely so that he would learn practical politics. Next, because of their role in quelling the mutiny, the Guilds will, after some further necessary difficulties, gain a seat on the Council, where they will be represented by Friday. Then, the Guilds will join with Astro, oust the other factions, hopefully without violence, restore a mercantile economy and make Friday Captain.

"The Troublemakers" is set in 2205. Friday should become Captain in about 2210. The psychologists, who will by then include Friday, will have reunited humanity in the Pioneer four or five years before 2249, when the ship is due to reach Alpha Centauri. Thus, Friday will spend about thirty five years leading the crew through social struggles that will eventually reunite them with the common purpose of colonization.

I have done my best to summarize the argument but I also disagree with it and will explain why in another post.

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