Sunday, 9 September 2012

More Differences Between Timelines

"Lyle Monroe" was an early pen name for Robert Heinlein. Thus, a new Magister Lazarus novel by Lyle Monroe is the Operation... universe equivalent of a new Lazarus Long novel by Robert Heinlein. Personally, I like only the first Lazarus Long novel, Methuselah's Children, but maybe the Magister Lazarus series is better? And probably, in the goetic universe, Magister Lazarus not only lives long but pulls a resurrection stunt?

Japanese authorities are Shinto, not secular;
Chinese are Taoist, not Maoist;
IRS means "Inquisition for Revenue Securement," not "Internal Revenue Service." (There is an obvious remark here so let's not make it.)

Their equivalent of von Braun is al-Bunni. My wife, a Modern Languages graduate, tells me that "braun" is German for "brown." Steve Matuchek tells us that "bunni" is Arabic for "brown," despite the rabbit connotation which the reader must notice and which a satirical cartoon exploits.

The Operation... timeline includes an equivalent of someone who is real to us and also of someone who is fictitious to us. They have an "...insidious Dr Fu Ch'ing..." (Operation Luna, New York, 2000, p. 61). Googling "Fu Ch'ing" discloses that there was a real one and that he was a Manchu. This fictitious Dr Fu is a Chinese secret agent operating so independently that:

" 'There are times when he is the Chinese government." (p. 62)

Mycroft Holmes coordinated so much government intelligence that in a sense it was true to say that he was the government.

I am in haste on a sunny Sunday afternoon but Operation Luna continues to entertain.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Aren't the mandarins of the new dynasty ruling China in OPERATION LUNA more likely to be CONFUCIANS, not Taoists? Unless PA intended a pun: Taoist versus Maoist!

    And Hitler's wife Eva Braun's name is very close to our timeline's von Braun.

    And I think one or two characters in Anderson's Terran Empire stories speculated that Aycharaych had so much influence in the Roidhunate that he virtually controlled Merseia. And even some Merseians were uneasy about that!


    1. Sean,
      The text does say Taoist although I would have to try to find the reference.

    2. Sean,
      In Chapter 25, Taoist masters are exorcising demons from China but there is an earlier reference as well.

    3. Sean,
      In Chapter 6, a Taoist junta resulting from the Chinese Revolution.

    4. Kaor, Paul!

      Thanks for these comments! A TAOIST junta ruling China? That seems very strange to me! That can't sit well with many Confucianists if their philosophy is still strong in China. I can see all sorts of possible angles and complications in Chinese politics if Confucianists and Taoists start contending with each other for power in Ch'ung-kuo!


    5. Sean,
      Confucians are conservatives whereas Taoists are anarchists. Thus, a Chinese Revolution leading to a Taoist junta is "the world turned upside down" but I think that that is the impression that Anderson wanted to create.

    6. Kaor, Paul!

      I have read some of the main Confucian texts: the ANALECTS, MENCIUS, and HSUN-TZU. My view is that there is much worthy of respect in Confucianism, esp. its realism about human nature and the need for the state to govern JUSTLY if it was to remain legitimate. A revival of Confucianism stressing its best ideas would be a vast improvement compared to the corrupt and brutal kleptocracy now ruling mainland China!

      By contrast, I know too little to adequately comment about Taoism. My vague recollection was that Taoists tend to be contemplative and reclusive-but I don't know what they believe about God and other ultimate questions. I do know some Taoists sought to extend human life spans by searching for elixirs of immortality.

      I do see your point about Poul Anderson trying to suggest a "world upside down" idea in showing us a China ruled by Taoists!