Friday, 26 February 2016

Master Of Future Histories And A Few Questions

Poul Anderson wrote not only a robot story in his Psychotechnic History but also a US Robots story for Isaac Asimov's future history. Thus, of the seven future histories mentioned in the previous post, Anderson:

wrote two (Psychotechnic, Technic);
contributed to three (Asimov's, Niven's, Pournelle's);
addressed issues from two (Heinlein's, Asimov's) -

- and also wrote several other future histories. This gives Anderson a preeminent position as a future historian.

Regarding the issue that I raised concerning the locations of Alderson Points in Niven and Pournelle's The Mote In God's Eye (London, 1979), maybe the giant star had expanded to encompass the Point? However, the star is merely as big as the orbit of Saturn whereas the Points are described as located far from either stars or large planets.

Mote contains unexpected humor:

"'Let's go make first contact with an alien, Mr Renner.'
"'I think you just did that,' said Renner. He glanced nervously at the screens to be sure the Admiral was gone.'" (p. 110)

Is it appropriate that, as human beings approach first contact, some italicized passages present an alien pov? Is it appropriate that, in one such passage, the omniscient narrator informs us:

"The Engineer knew enough about the warship already to scare the wits out of Captain Blaine if he'd known." (p. 114)?

A passage on pp. 59-61 presents Blaine's pov:

"...Rod thought..." (p. 60);
"...Rod felt a wild internal glee..." (p. 61).

However, the same passage also informs us:

"...[the scanners] also showed several odd black silhouettes against that white background. Nobody noticed..." (p. 59)

Nobody, not even Rod, noticed? So this is the omniscient narrator again. Is his presence appropriate?

(Yet again: a large round number of posts near the end of a month. Do I take a break till Mar 1st or maintain the pace with the posts? We will find out.)

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I think you have here discussed, as regards the possibly odd location of an Alderson Point and the "black silhouettes," a few more rough spots in a book with two authors. THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE was Niven and Pournelle's first collaboration and it was only natural that a certain awkwardness showed here and there. An awkwardness they seemed to have avoided in their later collaborations as their very different minds meshed more smoothly.

    And, yes, I remember the amusing incident of Lieutenant Renner referring to the commanding Admiral as an "alien"!