Jen at Crazy for Books has restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another. The hop is currently traveling about the blogosphere and is being hosted by Butterfly-o-Meter Books. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them. A complete explanation of the history and the rules of the Hop can be found here.
This week Jen asks: The bookish gods are giving you free hand, you can pick any one character (book, TV series/movie, play etc) and inject them into a different novel of your choice. Which character and series would you mix’n'match?
I think I would like to drop Hari Seldon, from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series into the universe inhabited by Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry. Both men live in the waning days of an interstellar empire, although Flandry's is threatened by alien powers, while Seldon's appears to be the undisputed master of the entire galaxy. Both men know that the end of their empire is coming. Both have a plan for dealing with the coming collapse.
But both characters have very different views on what those plans should be. Flandry fights heroically for his Emperor. Not because he thinks he can avert the coming fall - he is reconciled to the idea that his nation is doomed - but rather so that he can delay the inevitable until after his own death. Seldon, on the other hand, comes up with an entirely new branch of mathematics, which he calls psychohistory, to try to figure out a way to shorten the duration of the coming anarchy. Flandry's motivations are inherently selfish, looking for a way to make sure he does not have to personally live in the turmoil of a collapsed society. Seldon is essentially altruistic, looking for a way to ensure that future generations will suffer less.
However, the reason I would want to see Seldon in Anderson's books is not because Flandry and Seldon are such different characters, but rather because the two authors were so very different. Anderson was very libertarian in his outlook, and his writing reflects that. Asimov was much more of a believer in central planning and control, at least as far as his writing in the Foundation series goes. And Hari Seldon, as the author of a method to statistically predict the future behavior of large groups of people, and the architect of a plan to manage the entire galaxy for several thousand years, is pretty much the ultimate central planner. So dropping him into Anderson's fiction would be like mixing oil and water. Or rather, like throwing a match into a big pool of kerosene. Which means, of course, that the result would be sure to be entertaining.
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