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Most sensible sf about rebuilding after catastrophe? - Input Junkie
October 19th, 2016
09:36 am

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Most sensible sf about rebuilding after catastrophe?
Discussion of sf which portrays catastrophe as bringing back the Good Old Days

So, who does a good job? For purposes of this discussion, I'm talking about rebuilding which isn't a simple matter of playing out dreams or nightmares, plausibly fits its setting, and doesn't look much like the past.

Offhand, the only one I'm thinking of is Three Parts Dead (seriously alien society after a magical catastrophe), but there must be others.

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From:whswhs
Date:October 19th, 2016 02:56 pm (UTC)
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I quite like one aspect of Stirling's Emberverse books: The first three show the failure of technology and the process of ethnogenesis that gives rise to societies with quasi-medieval features (Stirling is careful to say that they aren't just the Middle Ages again), including people telling old stories with magic and the like; but in the next four the magic starts to become real. It's kind of like running Tolkien's story of the fall of Numenor and the departure of the Elder Days, in reverse.
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From:redaxe
Date:October 19th, 2016 03:32 pm (UTC)
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ISTR that aside from the actual SF aspect as depicted in the ending (because why spoil a 31-year-old book :-) ), The Postman does a pretty good job of showing realistic rebuilding efforts that go in several directions (not all pretty or socially acceptable by modern standards). I'd have to reread it to be certain, but that's my (probably flawed) memory of it.
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From:kgbooklog
Date:October 19th, 2016 07:17 pm (UTC)
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Alison Sinclair, Legacies
Youngsters from a species' first successful colony on another world get permission to return to the homeworld and see if anyone survived their grandparents' hasty departure.
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From:elenbarathi
Date:October 19th, 2016 08:55 pm (UTC)
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Lucifer's Hammer by Niven and Pournelle has quite a few realistic aspects.

EDIT: oh yeah, what about Ursula Le Guin's Always Coming Home, and Vonda McIntyre's Dreamsnake?

Edited at 2016-10-23 05:13 am (UTC)
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From:marycatelli
Date:October 20th, 2016 02:17 am (UTC)
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Hmm -- much depends on the catastrophe.

For instance Torchship and Torchship Pilot by Karl K. Gallagher do a very good job of working with a disaster involving AIs.
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From:agrumer
Date:October 20th, 2016 07:08 am (UTC)
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Do you mean Max Gladstone’s Three Parts Dead, first book in the Craft Sequence? If so, that’s a really odd description of it.

Edited at 2016-10-20 07:09 am (UTC)
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From:nancylebov
Date:October 20th, 2016 10:22 pm (UTC)
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Yes, Gladstone, and now that I think about it, the book doesn't portray the reconstruction.

Still, is it a false description, or just an odd one?

Edited at 2016-10-20 10:23 pm (UTC)
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From:agrumer
Date:October 20th, 2016 11:24 pm (UTC)
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Well, I dunno about “catastrophe.” The God Wars seem like the equivalent of our own World Wars — massive, globe-spanning conflicts that dislodge the old power structure in place of a new. But they don’t seem like the equivalent of a massive nuke war, or huge asteroid strike, or other civilization-toppling event.

As far as “alien” goes, the magical stuff in the Craft Sequence is pretty much all analogous to modern-day technology and finance. Three Parts Dead is a murder mystery combined with a civil bankruptcy proceeding. The fantasy elements aren’t anything new to anyone who plays modern role-playing games (it even preserves D&D’s arcane/divine caster dichotomy) and keeps up with financial news; it’s just new to see them combined in quite this way, with this level of attention to detail.
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From:agrumer
Date:October 20th, 2016 11:26 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and it’s definitely not an example of “brining back the Good Old Days,” since the post-God Wars society is not a reconstruction of the pre-war society.
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From:kgbooklog
Date:October 21st, 2016 03:36 am (UTC)
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Note that the titles indicate the internal chronology... the book closest to the God Wars is Last First Snow.
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