Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Galactic Empires

It would appear that I'm continuing the theme of women with swords, but really, it's just a coincidence . . . 
 Karel Thole

I don't know what it means, but when you click on my profile here on this 'blog, and then click on my interest label of 'Galactic Empires', I'm the only person out of, seemingly, millions of bloggers with that interest. Wow, not one other person appears to be interested in Galactic Empires.

Galactic Empire. Just utter those words in front of me and I lapse into a catatonic stupor as my mind floats free of my body and drifts into the star lanes of my imagination.

Galactic empires are in fact strictly products of the human imagination.

From the introduction to 'Galactic Empires, vol 1', edited by Brian Aldiss:

Galactic empires represent the ultimate absurdity in science fiction. 
Galactic empires represent a promiscuous liaison between Science and Glamour, with Glamour generally in the ascendent.
Galactic empires represent the spectaculars of the SF field.

Stories of galactic empires are my favorite SF sub-genre.

cover art by Karel Thole

Again, Brian Aldiss:

"What the authors do in the main is tell us a story adorned with alien creatures, swordplay, fascinating gadgets, and —for preference — beautiful princesses. The story itself is generally fairly traditional, the crux being resolved by quick wits, courage, and brute strength. If this sounds like the recipe for a fairy-tale, the point about fairy-tales is that they enchant us and enlarge our perception. As Michael Shaara puts it in his story:

"The history of Earth and of all Mankind just faded and dropped away. They heard of great races and worlds beyond number, the illimitable government which was the Galactic Federation. The fiction, the legends, the dreams of a thousand years had come true in a moment, in the figure of  a square little old man who was not from Earth. There was a great deal for them to learn and accept in the time of a single afternoon, on an alien planet."
. . .
You have to love the way villains or heroes flee across the remote star galaxies in pursuit of each other. You have to love the way Elder Races, Hideous Secrets, Ancient Forces or plain sneaky old teleportators crop up at every turn. And you have to love the imperial women."

Of course the most famous stories of Galactic Empires are the Star Wars and Star Trek sagas. But artistic and literary creations are by far more interesting, as our imaginations are far more free to fill in the gaps, to insert ourselves into the fabric and texture of star strewn adventures, with the potential of thousands of millennia of years of ancient histories and the jewel encrusted treasures waiting to be found on countless planets.

This is a new category for my posts, and I would love to hear from anyone with a similar interest. In fact I hope to see other bloggers profiles add Galactic Empires to their interests.


M. D. Jackson said...

Not necessarily Galactic Empires, although I have now included that among my interests, but I love stories of humanity flung far out into the stars, whether it be run by a a decadent aristocracy or just a faceless bureaucracy, I can't get enough of it. My particular favourites are the stories of James H. Scmidt. The Witches of Karres in particular.

Mark Wheatley said...

You just can't grow up reading Edmond Hamilton without loving Galactic Empires. Oddly - Peter Hamilton is still doing a great job of it - and no relation.

Nyrath said...

I like galactic empires too! Just look at my website. And look at what I illustrate it with...