Monday, 17 October 2016

Earth And Space

Robert Heinlein's Future History and Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic History begin on Earth before moving into space whereas Anderson's Technic History, like Larry Niven's Known Space History, begins in space, then, eventually and occasionally, brings us back to Earth. When Anderson introduces James Ching and his friends on Earth in the twenty fifth century, it is an Earth that is fully informed of extrasolar races like Cynthians, Gorzunians, Wodenites, Ythrians and Alfzarians.

A few years after James Ching has learned that he will be able to go into space apprenticed to a Master Merchant, we are back on the extrasolar planet Ivanhoe where we first met David Falkayn as an apprentice. However, this time, our viewpoint character is neither Falkayn nor Ching but yet another never-to-reappear character, the apprentice Juan Hernandez. Whereas Falkayn had had to cope with an obscurantist religion and Ching had had to contend with a Festival of Man, Hernandez's problem is how to celebrate Christmas in this"...strange and lonely place..." (The Van Rijn Method, p. 319)

This is a Christmas story and a good one and the Technic History is nothing if not intricate and multi-faceted.

3 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I most certainly agree "The Season of Forgiveness" is an excellent science fictional Christmas story. But not everybody, alas, can understand it. My sister in law tried to read it but gave up. She complained was too "dark." I'm not sure I understand this, but it might because Ivahoe orbits a red dwarf star whose light would appear dim to humans.

    Sean

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    1. Sean:
      "Dark"? I find this incomprehensible; it's a beautifully optimistic story. And I can't grasp how reading a tale about a dimly-lit world would be "dark" for the reader if the plot itself weren't dark....

      My great regret about "The Season of Forgiveness" is that I didn't discover it in time to show it to my dad. I'm sure he would've loved it.

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    2. Kaor, DAVID!

      I know, I agree! I don't understand how anyone can called "The Season of Forgiveness" a "dark" story. I can only suggest that for persons unused to SF and to thinking about other planets the story might well seem strange.

      It's become a habit of mine to read "The Season of Forgiveness" around Christmas time!

      Sean

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