Sunday, 26 June 2016

Three Exclusive Societies

This is interesting because it is about Poul Anderson himself, not about his works. In the early 1970's, Anderson was a member of:

the Hyborian Legion, for fans of Robert E Howard's Conan series;

the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America, for the, at that time, eight writers of sword and sorcery fantasy, Anderson, Lin Carter, L Sprague de Camp. John Jakes, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, Andre Norton and Jack Vance;

the Society for Creative Anachronism, for participants in Medievalist costumery, combat, tournaments etc.

Anderson wrote a Conan novel and earned a knighthood in the SCA. On Earth Real, Americans have no titles of nobility but, on other Earths, they have Kingdoms and even, as we have seen, an Emperor.

8 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    The members and ideas of the Society For Creative Anachronism plays a major role in the rise and development of the Portland Protective Association in S.M. Stirling's DIES THE FIRE timeline. Because, all of a sudden, the Society's interest in Medieval weapons, technology, and crafts was PRACTICAL and useful.

    It's been a long time since I last read it, but L. Sprague de Camp's THE GLORY THAT WAS shows us an Earth ruled by a constitutional Emperor and Prime Minister from New York City. Hmmm, apparently the US somehow evolved into an Empire which came to rule all Earth!

    I've not read it, but Kratman's book CALIPHATE shows us the US also evolving into an Empire after fanatical Muslims attacked her with nuclear weapons. I have to admit I don't find that possibility totally unlikely!

    Sean

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  2. Paul and Sean:
    In the *Star Trek: the Original Series* episode "Mirror, Mirror," the evil Empire's badge shows the Western Hemisphere, suggesting it was governed from the Americas.

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    1. Hi, David!

      Interesting, altho I'm not familiar with that episode of STAR TREK. It does sort of reminds me of de Camp's book, with an Empire apparently ruled from the capital of New York City.

      I fear I was never a STAR TREK fan. Reading the works of Anderson, Asimov, Bradbury, Clark, Heinlein, Norton, etc., as a boy kinda spoiled TV science fiction shows for me. Compared to the masters I read STAR TREK seemed so thin, shallow, and superficial to me.

      Hope this doesn't offend you!

      Sean

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  3. Sean:
    *Star Trek* wasn't always as good as it had the potential to be, but it tended to be LOTS better than most other TV science fiction -- of the time, or later. And "Mirror, Mirror" concerned an alternate universe, which is one of my favorite types of sf. What do you do when an accident traps you in a version of reality where the people you know as good are instead evil -- and murdering a superior officer is a common way to get promoted?

    "So you die, Captain -- and we all move up in rank. No one will question the assassination of a captain who has disobeyed prime orders of the Empire." ("Disobeyed" by choosing not to bombard a peacefully resisting planet into submission.)

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    1. Hi, David!

      Your mentioning of the alternate universe branch of SF immediately made me think of Poul Anderson's THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS, whose protagonist was unexpectedly hurled into a universe where the Carolingian legends were true.

      A grisly thought experiment there, what you said of "Mirror, Mirror." Yes, I have to concede STAR TREK was better than most other TV science fiction. And the kind of socio/political system you described reminded me of the Domination of the Draka, except a Draka would almost certainly have no hesitation ordering the bombardment of a rebellious planet!

      Sean

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    2. Sean:
      Well, the reason the captain in this case wasn't bombarding is that he was the Captain Kirk from OUR universe, temporarily stranded in the Empire's universe and protecting innocents as much as he could while trying (successfully, in the end) to find a way back home. He also did his best to persuade the Empire's Spock to overthrow the Empire's Kirk and then try to reform the Empire. But yes, I think most Draka would definitely find the Empire ... congenial.

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    3. David,
      Except that I think the Draka are loyal to each other?
      Paul.

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    4. Hi, David and Paul!

      David: now I understand, the BETTER Captain Kirk, not the bad one from that other universe. I fear, even if the Spock of the Empire's universe had a change of mind and heart, one man could not really hope to change an entire society that much.

      Paul: yes, the Draka are loyal to each when the chips were down (meaning any private feuds would be set aside in emergencies). Aaside, of course, from those few Draka who managed to break the conditioning given them by their upbringing and education (as we see mentioned in THE STONE DOGS).

      Sean

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