Thursday, 24 March 2016

Futures Reassess Pasts

HG Wells wrote history and future history: An Outline Of History and The Shape Of Things To Come are almost companion titles.

Olaf Stapledon's Last And First Men and Last Men In London are companion volumes. The first is a future history and the second is one Last Man's assessment of past history.

Poul Anderson's The Boat Of A Million Years combines historical sf with future history. As in James Blish's Cities In Flight, future history ceases to be generational when the characters become immortal but centuries continue to elapse nevertheless.

Anderson's Genesis summarizes past history before proceeding into a remote future. And that future restores primordial themes when a member of the new human race, perceiving artificial intelligences as gods and wizards, embarks on a Quest to help one AI against another. Meanwhile, the Terrestrial AI "emulates" (consciously simulates) historical periods and alternative histories.

Anderson's complete works include many historical fictions and fictional futures and several alternative histories.

According to Jerry Pournelle's and SM Stirling's "The Asteroid Queen," Marx, Charlemagne, Hitler and Brennan (the Belter who became a protector) were all members of the same ancient, secret, world-controlling Brotherhood. Not in our timeline! And maybe not in the Known Space timeline either? The Brotherhood suppresses knowledge and propagates:

"...slanted versions of past, present, and future." (Man-Kzin Wars V, p. 26) -

- so maybe it lies to itself about its own past?

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