Poul Anderson's Science-Fiction Future Histories
"Catawrayannis was overflowing at the hatches with spacemen and marines, as ship after ship made rendezvous."
— Poul Anderson, The Rebel Worlds
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Psychotechnic Future History
Illustration by Ed Emshwiller
Anderson's first future history, comprised of tales mostly first published between 1950 and 1957, including novels like Star Ways (1956) and Virgin Planet (1957), chronicles the rebirth of human civilization after a devastating world war and humanity's subsequent advance into the stars. Anderson's own timeline of the future history was presented alongside the original publication of the novella The Snows of Ganymede (1955), and most of the stories were first collected in The Psychotechnic League (1981), Cold Victory (1982) and Starship (1982). More recently all of these future history tales — save Star Ways — were reissued in The Complete Psychotechnic League, Volume 1 (2017), Volume 2 (2018) and Volume 3 (2018).
Technic Future History
Illustration by Michael Whelan
Van Rijn | Falkayn | Flandry
Anderson's most renown future history consists of dozens of tales first published between 1952 and 1985. The tales of Nicholas Van Rijn and David Falkayn, Traders of the Polesotechnic League, include stories first collected in Trader to the Stars (1964) and The Trouble Twisters (1966) and novels like The Man Who Counts (1958), Satan's World (1968), and Mirkheim (1977). The tales of Dominic Flandry, Agent of the Terran Empire, include stories first collected in Agent of the Terran Empire (1965) and Flandry of Terra (1965) and novels like Ensign Flandry (1966), A Circus of Hells (1969), The Rebel Worlds (1969), We Claims These Stars! (1959) A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows (1974) and A Stone in Heaven (1979). More recently all of these future history works were reissued in the seven-volume "Technic Civilization Saga" comprised of The Van Rijn Method (2008), David Falkayn: Star Trader (2009), Rise of the Terran Empire (2009), Young Flandry (2010), Captain Flandry (2010), Sir Dominic Flandry (2010) and Flandry's Legacy (2011).
World of the Maurai
Illustration by Thomas Kidd for "The Sky People"
Tales of a post-apocalyptic Earth of the distant future where industrial resources and technological know-how are scarce, comprised of three stories, "The Sky People," originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy of Science Fiction, March 1959, "Progress," originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy of Science Fiction, January 1962, and "Windmill," originally published in the anthology Saving Worlds, Doubleday, 1973 (all collected in 1982's Maurai and Kith), and the 1983 novel Orion Shall Rise.
Fireball and Anson Guthrie
Tales of Anson Guthrie, one of the first humans to have his consciousness "downloaded" into a computer, this future history describes the evolution of humanity into space and eventually to the stars. The series consists of four novels — Harvest of Stars (1993), The Stars Are Also Fire (1994), Harvest the Fire (1995) and The Fleet of Stars (1997) — and the novelet "Renascence," first published in Analog Science Fiction, March 1995.
"He'd gone to sleep in a room somewhere in the stews of Catawrayannis, with no prospect or intention of leaving the city for an indefinite time —"
— Poul Anderson, "Tiger by the Tail"
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