Poul Anderson?

Al Jackson

Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2018
I have a recollection of reading a Poul Anderson science fiction novel, with the following?
I may be miss-remembering it may have been someone else. Anyone recall the following situation? In what novel?

There is a description in a Poul Anderson novel, (I think!?) I can’t remember the novel, of an Earth reduced to 1 billion people. There is only one big city, a spaceport, everybody else lives around the world in houses that blend with the landscape. Any dirt under the finger nails work is done by robots. People are either artists, artisans or scientists or such like. It is a sort of ‘pedestrian’ utopia. There is benign world wide government, everyone lives a sophisticated pastoral life . Anderson makes all the people enlightened and sophisticated , no wars or conflicts, but the people are not sheepish or docile. Billions of Terrans are off world in interstellar colonies. If you want adventure you go to the colonies. Anderson makes the whole setup sound viable.
Now that’s only one chapter, we never go back to Earth again. We follow the adventures of a guy who goes off Earth to a military career. I guess Anderson could not find an interesting story on ordinary-Utopia-Earth. Funny set up , I don’t know of another like it in science fiction. Most Utopias in SF are kind of Dystopias in the long run or they are Dystopias to begin with.

I don’t know. The sort of kinda utopian world Anderson presented had that everyone was satisfied but not brain washed.

I should have mention that the off world colonies were powerful but owed such a strong allegiance to Earth they provided military protection. Tho there were alien civilizations the colonial ‘empire’ was in conflict with they did not seem interested in Earth. Adventuresome people from ‘old’ Earth went to the colonies to have adventures! We follow one who becomes a war-star-ship captain. In fact that the story is standard space opera tho Anderson pitched his space opera at an ultra-sophisticated manner.

Earth is off in the weeds we only find out about it’s set up. Anderson never seems to visit this scenario again and he wrote a ton of SF books.
As far as Poul Anderson goes; I sort of cherry pick his, so I don't have a lot of his stuff.
I don't recall this one.
You might fare better if you post this in book search--even though you think it is Poul Anderson--if you don't have a title then the people looking in on book search might trigger something with this description.

Maybe a MOD will notice this and move it.
The problem here is that PA wrote a lot of books. I'm a bit of a fan (you'd never guess) but I've probably only read maybe 15 of his novels and this doesn't ring a bell. Which means its not one of his super-famous novels. It also doesn't sound at all like a Flandry book or another from his Psychotechnic League series (which cuts out about 20 books), as the population of Earth isn't smaller in those books nor a utopia as you describe. But I'll keep an eye out - this sounds rather good and I would probably like it, so once we find out, I expect I'll read it!
My favorite book th by him The High Crusade .:cool:

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