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Jan 17, 2016

Doth thou protest too much?

In my previous blog post I mentioned Isaac Asimov's story 'Gold' in which he depicts a bribe in the form of 200 shiny gold coins. The bribe sets in motion a sequence of events, but in the end, a great work of art is created, and the gold becomes meaningless in comparison.

Post-Scarcity
Visionary science fiction authors have had no difficulty imagining human futures and alien cultures where technological progress puts an end to scarcity of material goods. For example, the Star Trek fictional universe depicts a future without any real need for money.

source
In contrast, some people can't imagine life without money. It is like religion. Some people who have been indoctrinated with a religious view of existence can't imagine how other people live without religion to give structure to their lives.

I have in the past occasionally blogged about capitalism and the lady who doth protest too much about science fiction writers who fail to make capitalism part of their fictional universes. I'm always amused when Hollywood depicts space aliens as traveling across vast interstellar distances in search of some pitiful reward such as Earth's gold. It is really anti-science fiction stories that depict futures where nothing about society, including economics, ever changes.

original cover art by Frank R. Paul
Jack Vance often inserted amusing vignettes and plot threads about money into his stories. In Trullion, the protagonist, Glinnes Hulden spends most of the book scheming to obtain enough money to buy back some family property that was sold out from under him by his brother.

After much travail, Glinnes finds 30,000,000 million ozols of "lost" ransom money. He has no qualms about keeping the money despite Akadie the mentor's muttered, "Have you no shame?"

In The League of Yrinna, the fate of the "lost" money is explored. Glinnes has no real interest in money, but he makes funds available to both his lover, Duissane, and to his twin brother, Glay. Glinnes has already "washed" his money once on Trullion, but then later he needs some "clean cash" on Yrinna, not his "marked" ozol certificates from Trullion.

In an effort to help Glinnes infiltrate the League of Yrinna (an organization that has long been associated with space piracy), the Connatic issues an arrest warrant for Glinnes.

Glinnes and Duissane travel to Yrinna using disguises and false identities. Arriving on the planet that secretly has served as headquarters for Alastor Cluster's space pirates,  the formerly inseparable lovers must first separate and then later they meet across the field of play during a hussade match.

Among the Demmulney Dragons, Glinnes sticks out like a sore thumb, but the space pirates of Yrinna are intrigued by his amateurish efforts to investigate the ancient Gensifer and Ambal families.

The League of Yrinna
Duissane "slips under the radar" and is able to make contact with the Pheni natives of Yrinna. With their help, Duissane makes contact with the Phari and saves Glinnes from the League of Yrinna. The pek realize that Duissane and Glinnes must be sent into the past where the favorable gene combinations of their children will allow a negotiated end to the Time War in another Reality.


Along the way, I'd like to engineer a scene in Part 3 of The League of Yrinna where Glinnes must spend most of his hoard of ozols in an attempt to infiltrate the League of Yrinna. Glinnes must pretend to become a space pirate and buy a spaceship and sponsor a crew of pirates.

The League of Yrinna
Glinnes learns that for hundreds of years, the League of Yrinna has been able to produce a strange human variant that has the innate ability to use the Bimanoid Interface. However, when these creatures mature, they "lose their minds". This strange affliction (called 'going dark') is due to the meddling of the Pheni of Yrinna who do not want the space pirates to gain additional power. Glinnes fears that Duissane will go dark, so he carries out a raid on the Gensifer Clan's estate in an attempt to find Duissane.

Money: Don't Leave Earth Without It
Alastor Cluster is caught between the old and the new. On Trullion, the basic necessities of life can be had with only a few hours of daily labor. The cash economy limps along on Trullion with the average Trill satisfied by simple pleasures and lacking interest in expensive high-tech gizmos.

On a few worlds such as Triskelion A there are people who strive to make new technological advances, but across the many worlds of the galaxy that have become home to humans, life has changed little during the space age. It is almost as if some hidden force is restricting science and technology.....

Next: the Artificial Geology of Yrinna

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