Friday, 15 April 2016
SF And Military SF
"The capital world of the Tyranny, Vega II, was invested in 2413 by a number of armed cities, including IMT, whose task it was to destroy the many orbital forts surrounding the planet, and by the Third Colonial Navy under Admiral Alois Hrunta, who was charged with occupying Vega II in the event of its surrender. Instead, Admiral Hrunta scorched the planet completely, and led the Third Navy off into an uncharted quadrant with the intention of founding his own interstellar empire."
-James Blish, Cities In Flight (London, 1981), p. 170.
Earth suppresses empires but supports law-abiding cities for its own economic health:
"...law and order in Arm II are provided by the Earth police, and its economy is supported by the migrant cities. Both systems are haphazard and inefficient, and often operate at cross purposes." (p. 171)
The moral is: make trade, not war, and do not build empires. The system is inefficient but could be worse.
Poul Anderson's Master Merchant Nicholas van Rijn, title character of Trader To The Stars and The Man Who Counts, finds peace more profitable and morally acceptable than war. However, other Anderson characters must cope with warfare. If we want to read a detailed account of a planet attacked by an interstellar fleet and defended by orbital forts, then we can turn to Anderson's The People Of The Wind. Does Jerry Pournelle's military sf concentrate more on the historical experience of land-based warfare? His mercenaries cross interstellar distances to reach low tech colony planets where they must march to make war.