Monday, 20 August 2012

Fenn And Dredd

Fenn, the new character who "raged" at the end of Chapter 2 in Poul Anderson's The Fleet Of Stars has, by Chapter 6, become a police officer on Luna where he quells an anti-cybercosm riot with gun and fists. I was reminded of Judge Dredd although that is hardly a comparison intended by Anderson.

The social situations are similar. Like Dredd, Fenn polices those who, in a high tech civilisation, lack not only employment but also meaning, surviving on citizen's credit but turning to petty crime and violence for want of anything better to do. I suggest that well-resourced education and culture do give meaning but only to those who are actively engaged with them and that condition is lacking in these imagined scenarios. (Now, I would like to be able to read Virgil in the original but did not have such an interest in a Latin epic while being force-fed that "dead language" at school in the 60's.)

Dredd, published continuously in comic strips since the early 70's, has also made it to the big screen twice. Anderson's characters are less well known but worthier of screen dramatisation.

(I borrowed the Dredd collections from the Public Library. One was stolen from the public access area at my work. Incredibly, the Library said I could replace it with any book, not necessarily another copy of the stolen item. I happened to have two copies of the Everyman edition of The Time Machine which has a wealth of introductions and textual notes so the Library lost one fictitious account of future society and gained another!)

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