Friday, 17 March 2017

Public Figures And Global Disasters

(Tomorrow, I will travel to London and back to campaign against racism so probably won't blog.)

This post has two themes:

public figures in fiction;
fictional global disasters.

(I did not copy an image of a public figure because I might have been taken to mean that that public figure was a global disaster.)

First, does any current US President or other comparable public figure appear under his own name in any of Poul Anderson's works? I do not know of any but I have not read every short story. The Protector's War (New York, 2006) by SM Stirling (colleague and worthy successor of Anderson) refers to:

the Queen and Prince Charles/Charles III;
Saint Diana;
Prince William;
Tony Blair.

Today, I heard part of a radio drama in which an epidemic wiped out all but 0.3% of the world population. Because the British government was no longer able to function on a national level and because the Queen was too ill to perform state functions, the (fictional) Prime Minister asked Prince Charles to dissolve Parliament. Do public figures like the Prince of Wales know when they feature in works of fiction? Will the Prince be informed that I have referred to him here? (I doubt it.)

Global disaster scenarios are a perennial feature of sf but are they more relevant now? In a fictional scenario, the author can guess how a public figure would respond to a disaster. Thus, Stirling's Charles III copes but then accepts bad advice. His story, and that of the real Prince Charles, continue...

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Well, I can think of some past public figures who were global disasters! Tyrants like Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, etc., comes to mind. Out of deference to you, I won't list any current public figures. (Smiles)

I recall mention of US Presidents like Franklin Roosevelt in "Details," but I don't recall seeing any under their proper names in the works of Anderson. And I think Stirling's DIES THE FIRE mentions former President Bill Clinton, with one character wondering if Clinton, with assistance from remnants of his Marine and Secret Service guards managed to set up an enclave at the Presidential retreat of Camp David. But we don't see Clinton himself in person.

In a situation of the kind described in the radio drama you mentioned the desirable procedure would be for the heir to the throne to temporarily assume the royal powers and functions as regent for his sick father or mother. That would enable the PM to request dissolutions or prorogations of Parliament, etc.

I kind of hope the real Prince Charles knows of your blog and how he has sometimes been discussed here! From what I know of him, the Prince of Wales is more intelligent than some think he is and has some interesting ideas. Which fits in with how Stirling treated his Prince Charles.

Yes, global disaster scenarios are relevant, because they are all too PLAUSIBLE and likely to happen. You already know of what might happen if a BIG comet hits the Earth (and sooner or later THAT will happen again). Which makes it all the more urgent for us to get OFF this rock!

Another possible global disaster you might not yet know about is the Yellowstone Hot Spot. Some geologists are very concerned about how a massive super volcano eruption at the geologically active US National Park at Yellowstone would be a disaster as bad as getting struck by a comet. Think, among other things, of a suddenly far COLDER climate, lasting for years. Harry Turtledove explored this idea in his three SUPER VOLCANO ERUPTION books.