Friday, 25 March 2016

The Two Man-Kzin Wars Trilogies

I am realizing that I have not read Jerry Pournelle's and SM Stirling's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" before. At least, it is not raising any memories. (In Man-Kzin Wars V, this story is "In the Hall..." on the contents and title pages but "The Hall..." on the tops of pages.)

The present plan is to finish reading this story. Over 100 pages to go: it is really a novel. It is interesting as a well-written installment of a future history and as overlapping with Poul Anderson's contributions to the same future history. I will probably reread Anderson's Man-Kzin trilogy in order to trace its connections with the Pournelle-Stirling trilogy. In any case, I have read Anderson's third Man-Kzin story only once so far, which is not enough.

These six works make a good series in their own right and as a turning point in Larry Niven's Known Space future history. Like Anderson's Psychotechnic History, Known Space divides into an STL and an FTL period. Niven shows STL interstellar warfare in Protector. Anderson shows such warfare, but only between two nearby planetary systems, in "Time Lag." The nature of man-kzin conflict changes dramatically when men acquire the hyperdrive at the end of the second Pournelle-Stirling story.

I may or may not read Man-Kzin Wars stories by other authors. The focus of this blog remains Poul Anderson and related writers, not Known Space, which is a whole other subject.

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