Friday, 4 May 2012

The Technic History in 10 Volumes

I now think that the series could be collected as follows:

The Polesotechnic LeagueBeginnings (7 stories)
Star Trader (van Rijn)
Trader Team (Falkayn's crew), ending with "Lodestar"
Latter Days (the remaining 5 works)

Empire and AfterBeginnings (3 pre-Flandry works)
Young Flandry
Outposts of Empire
Flandry and Empire
Children of Empire
After the Empire

The League volumes would be an extended Earth Book of Stormgate. The Polesotechnic League: Beginnings would have to begin with the prequel/prologue story "The Saturn Game" but would then contain the first four Earth Book stories and the two that introduce Falkayn before van Rijn had appointed him to lead a team. Latter Days would end with the last two Earth Book stories, the first about Falkayn's grandson, the second set even later but both, according to the Chronology, occurring before the dissolution of the League.

Latter Days would be a pivotal volume containing:

two further League stories;
the novel in which van Rijn reassembles the team to address a crisis that turns out to be the beginning of the end of the League;
two stories set later on Falkayn's colony planet, Avalon.

The strongest link between the League and Empire periods is that the Avalonian novel, The People of the Wind, here to be collected in Empire: Beginnings, provides the background for the Earth Book. The stories and novels in the History are like beads on a string. Moving them together or apart illuminates their contents and interconnections.


  1. Hi, Paul!

    I think you made a good argument for how you would divide into volumes the Technic Civilization stories. And if there's ever a COLLECTED COMPLET WORKS OF POUL ANDERSON I hope someone takes your suggestions seriously.

    The only quibble I have is the name you chose for the post Imperial stories: AFTER THE EMPIRE. I would prefer the name Flandry used for the era of anarchy he expected to come after the Empire fell: the "Long Night." It was, after all, the name Anderson himself coined.

    Sincerely, Sean

  2. I am still not sure about how to divide up the volumes! I am re-reading some of the series in the Baen edition and re-reading always makes me re-think.

    I also like "The Long Night". It depends whether that means anything and everything after the Empire or just the period of anarchy immediately after the Fall of the Empire. That shorter period is really only in one story? And "After the Empire" would have the advantage that it is a series title clearly linking this volume back to earlier volumes with titles incorporating "...Empire".

    1. Hi, Paul! Thanks for replying.

      Hmmm, you do make a good point: "The Long Night" is not quite applicable to all the post Imperial stories. Strictly speaking, only "A Tragedy of Errors" is set within the Long Night era. It's possible "The Sharing of Flesh" is set at the tail end of the Long Night proper, as that story shows how interstellar civilization was reviving. And THE NIGHT FACE and "Starfog" are definitely not in the Long Night period.

      So, maybe a volume collecting the four post Imperial stories Anderson wrote might best be called AFTER THE EMPIRE. With "A Tragedy of Errors" and "The Sharing of Flesh" being in a subsection called the "Long Night." The other two stories would be harder to categorize, except they too are post Imperial.

      Sincerely, Sean

    2. I now think that "Outpost of Empire" and THE DAY OF THEIR RETURN are too short to form a separate volume and should be collected with the 7 shorter Flandry works as FLANDRY AND EMPIRE.

    3. Hi, Paul!

      And the editor of a COMPLETE COLLECTED WORKS OF POUL ANDERSON would probably want most individual volumes to have more than just two of Anderson's works.

      Hmmm, you would advocate collecting, in internal chronological order, the contents of AGENT OF THE TERRAN EMPIRE and FLANDRY OF TERRA. Along with "Outpost" and DAY. Yes, I think that makes sense. If an editor does not think it would make too hefty a volume, of course.

      Sincerely, Sean

    4. It is only 3 volumes like YOUNG FLANDRY and the proposed CHILDREN OF EMPIRE.

    5. THE NIGHT FACE is earlier than "The Sharing of Flesh", according to the Chronology.

    6. Hi, Paul!

      I noticed that, but only after I made my erroneous comment. So, "A Tragedy of Errors" and THE NIGHT FACE belongs to the Long Night era. While "The Sharing of Flesh" and "Starfog" should be dated after the Long Night.

      Sincerely, Sean

  3. Whereas previously I borrowed the Technic Civilization Saga volumes from a public library, I am now buying each volume to re-read at greater leisure and have become more appreciative of how they are put together although I still have some disagreements.

  4. I have only just thought to google St Dismas! (He might have been fictitious for all I knew.) In "Margin of Profit", Old Nick refers both to Dismas and to Mercury: the Good Thief and the god of thieves.

  5. Hi, Paul!

    Yes, "Dismas" is the name tradtionally given to the "good thief" who rebuked the other criminal and asked Christ to remember him.

    In the Polesotechnic League stories Nicholas van Rijn is presented as a surprisingly pious if hardly saintly Christian. The indications I've seen makes him look very Catholic in his faith. Given his Dutch/Indonesian background it did seem surprising to think of Old Nick as a Catholic!


  6. Re-reading van Rijn stories in the Baen editions is giving me new perspectives. I will write a bit more in due course.