Saturday, 12 March 2016
reread The Mote In God's Eye (with Larry Niven) although not agreed with Heinlein about it;
enjoyed rereading King David's Spaceship, which is recommended by Anderson;
appreciated the Prologue of The Mercenary and the future politics in the opening chapters.
However, I have encountered a barrier. The narrative suddenly jumps to Falkenberg, now a mercenary, on a colony planet with complicated social problems that I have not been able fully to engage with or get involved in. Pournelle is creating a political conflict so that Falkenberg will be able to apply military force to it. But, as CS Lewis and Brian Aldiss both said in different ways (see here), we do not go to other planets to find "The same old stuff we left behind..."
I remember a previous reading of The Mercenary and have also googled here and here. From these sources, I gather that:
the Falkenberg series has been collected and re-collected and now comprises a single compilation co-written by SM Stirling;
there are Patriotic Wars, Formation Wars, Secession Wars and a sub-series called "War World," which is longer and more complicated than I had realized;
the selling of military services becomes a major part of the interstellar economy;
unemployed populations make unreasonable demands on resources;
the view is expressed that such populations should be left to sink or swim;
Falkenberg orders a massacre.
I believe that the employed in an industrial/technological society can redirect production and resources away from warfare towards welfare which would mean the elimination of poverty whereas "Welfare" has come to mean its perpetuation and institutionalization! I might find myself too out of sync with the assumptions and ethos of Falkenberg and his colleagues to continue reading their history.