Monday, 16 May 2016

The Well Known And The Best

I returned from meditation to watch a TV program about Islamic art with images of Paradise as an oasis. Sf readers are reminded of the desert planet, Dune, with its water religion, Jihad and Empire. I classify Dune alongside Foundation and Lensman as a work that aspires to be what Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization is, a substantial account of civilization on an interstellar scale.

Anderson's Terran Empire, Merseians and Aeneas are more plausible than the Galactic Empire, the Eddorians and Dune, respectively. Also, Anderson's Danellians, Neldorians and Time Patrol beat EE Smith's Arisians, Eddorians and Galactic Patrol. I suggest that it is important to direct any inquirers about sf towards Anderson rather than towards certain better known names. Dune has had a feature film and a TV series. Foundation is on sale everywhere. The Technic History and the Time Patrol series need to be kept in print.


David Birr said...

One quibble -- in the Time Patrol series, I'd rate the Exaltationists as more impressive villains than the Neldorians, more comparable to what I've heard of Smith's Eddorians. Everard, thinking aloud in "Ivory, Apes, and Peacocks," described the extortion against Tyre as too sophisticated for Neldorians and correctly deduced it was run by Merau Varagan himself.

Exaltationists are key in "IA&P," "The Year of the Ransom," and "Women and Horses and Power and War." A briefer at the beginning of *The Shield of Time" tells Everard that Merau Varagan "roused fear in the [Patrol's] Middle Command."

I recall only ONE actual appearance by Neldorians: "Delenda Est" -- and that was a fairly sloppy operation by just two guys.

Paul Shackley said...

You are right. I mentioned the Neldorians because they were the first and are a whole age of criminals. Even they are more impressive and credible than the Eddorians.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, David and Paul!

David: Yes, I agree the Exaltationists were more plausible or deeply thought out villains than the Neldorians. Perhaps because we see Neldorians only once in the Time Patrol series.

Paul: I'm IRRITATED that while I see Isaac Asimov's overrated Foundation stories in almost every book store I go to, I almost never see ANY of Poul Anderson's books. Never mind his Technic History stories!

I agree with you in rating DUNE and at least its first two sequels as being not as well done as PA's Terran Empire stories. But I do think the first three DUNE books better than Asimov's effort.

Besides Anderson's works, I would recommend to beginning readers of SF the pre STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND books of Robert Heinlein. Other writers, like Anthony Boucher, are also very much worth reading, if a person is delving into older SF and F.

And I hope this blog of your is having some success encouraging readers to take a chance with some of PA's books!