Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Originally published on Poul Anderson Appreciation, 28 Feb 2013.

Let us try to summarize the recent history of our immediate civilization-cluster since, in Poul Anderson's After Doomsday (St Albans, 1975), that is the only possible kind of galactic history.

On Kandemir, vast, fertile plains enabled nomads to domesticate animals, to sustain government, literacy and technology and to dominate the cities, where subject races labour in immobile industries like mining. T'sjudan space travellers arrived and began to trade. Kandemirian nomadism became an interstellar empire subordinating even T'sjuda but opposed by a coalition led by the Dragar of Vorlak, a warrior class who had displaced the Vorlakka imperium when space travellers reached Vorlak.

Monwaing which has spread through space by peaceful colonization, not by military aggression, supports the coalition but without joining the war. Other space-traveling races in the civilization-cluster are too weak to intervene. Like the Chereionites in Anderson's History of Technic Civilization, Monwaingi are descended from flightless birds but the latter are more avian in appearance, with beaks and feathers. I am reminded of Tomar Re in the Green Lantern Corps. Monwaingi introduce Terrestrials to space travel, then Earth is destroyed and Kandemir is suspected.

While American men fight for Vorlak against Kandemir, European women found Terran Traders, Inc. on Zatlokopa in a capitalist civilization-cluster. By the end of the novel, Terrestrials will have upset the balance of power in both civilization-clusters but, of course, the estimated million other civilization-clusters in the galaxy will not be affected.

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