Sunday, 5 March 2017
"...it's a great story, none better..."
-SM Stirling, The Protector's War (New York, 2006), Chapter Four, p. 117.
I do not share this "none better" evaluation of Tolkien. How good a book is is closely related to how often I want to reread it. I read The Lord Of The Rings once when at University and once again when the films came out. I do not know how often I have reread two major series by Poul Anderson.
Tolkien's major body of work is the History of Middle Earth;
Anderson's Time Patrol series is the history of mankind as seen by time travelers;
Anderson's History of Technic Civilization is a "future history."
I recommend Anderson's The Earth Book Of Stormgate, a single volume collecting twelve works including one novel with additional introductory passages and covering three periods of the Technic History:
the Grand Survey;
the Polesotechnic League;
the early Terran Empire.
The introductory passages are based on The People Of The Wind and the Earth Book includes stories about Nicholas van Rijn, David Falkayn and Adzel, all of whom appear in other volumes of the History. Thus, the Earth Book is a massive single volume that is also fully integrated into a much longer fictional history. It deserves both wider recognition and screen adaptation.