Monday, 21 March 2016

Multiple Authorship

In a future history series, we value length and complexity. Multiple authorship increases both. I used to think that future histories should be multiply authored. Now that franchise universes have been published, what do we think?

(i) Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization achieves both length and complexity with single authorship.

(ii) The Man-Kzin Wars period of Larry Niven's Known Space History is considerably enhanced by (at least) three long contributions from Jerry Pournelle and SM Stirling and (just) three long contributions from Poul Anderson.

Anderson's contributions, set in the FTL period, build on Pournelle's and Stirling's contributions, set in the earlier STL period. For example, Pournelle and Stirling introduce a bar and a character that Anderson reuses. Thus, these six works, which could be collected in two volumes, comprise a substantial section of this future history.

It becomes even less feasible to consider one author in isolation from others. We might attempt a comprehensive assessment of the Pournelle/Stirling/Anderson joint contribution to the Niven future history.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And of course there's the contributions made by Poul Anderson and S.M. Stirling to Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium future history. With Larry Niven being the first to contribute to that timeline by becoming a co-author of THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE.


  2. Sean,
    Indeed but I am thoroughly involved with Man-Kzin Wars for the foreseeable future!