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Ambiguities, Difficulties, and Inconsistencies

The bane of any fictional historian is inconsistency. Since Jerry Pournelle's Future History now fills fourteen books (plus a few extra stories here and there), it's not surprising that some contradictions have crept in.

Some apparent "inconsistencies" aren't really errors in the texts. For example, the major action of The Mote in God's Eye takes place 27 to 28 years before the major action of The Gripping Hand. The characters in Hand, however, usually refer to the events of Mote as having happened "twenty five years ago", "thirty years ago", or "a quarter of a century ago". Only rarely do they say "twenty-eight years ago". But this is not an inconsistency – this is the way real people speak!

We are used to some numbers (e.g., multiples of ten) being used as "approximations" in many contexts. Thus, when a character in 2094 says something happened "seventeen years ago", it is reasonable to presume it happened in 2077, with an error of at most a year. If a character is "thirty-two years old" in 2094, then they were born in 2061 or 2062. But if an event happened "sixty years ago" or a character "looks sixty years old", then I take this to be a rounded figure – and the date in question will be written as "c. 2034", or just "In the 2030's".

I also have to take into account who is speaking. At one point in King David's Spaceship, Malcolm Dougal refers to the Emperor as "Lysander" (KDS 161). We know that earlier in the book Leonidas IX was emperor (KDS 82), and we know from Mote that Leonidas IX was ruler both before and after Dougal's comment. Does this mean that a usurper held the Spartan throne for a few months? Surely not. Dougal simply misspoke: he knows little of the Empire, and probably can't keep all of its Leonidases and Lysanders straight. Such errors are noted in either the Timeline or on this page.

However, some mistakes must be attributed to the authors. The Santiago Civil War occurred in the nation of Santiago, on the planet Thurstone. This is clearly stated in the story of Peter Owensford's involvement in the civil war (PM 134, 143) and elsewhere (GTS 59, 174, 201, 299). Yet Santiago is occasionally referred to as a planet, even in contexts which aren't explainable as an individual's poor memory (the Crofton's excerpt on GTS 56, for example, which refers to Santiago and Thurstone as distinct planets).

What follows is an overview of the errors and ambiguities in Pournelle's Future History stories. In each section, I indicate what choices I made on the Timeline, and what alternate interpretations might be possible.

Page numbers are from the most common paperback versions; see the Bibliography for other editions.

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Passage of time in The Mote in God's Eye

How long did the human expedition stay in the Mote system?

In conclusion, it seems that the total stay in the Mote system is between 10 and 10.5 months, probably closer to 10.5.

However, when each event in the Mote system is examined, the total duration does not seem to total anything near this long. The Mediators are met within 6 days of arriving in the system (183). The ferrets are released soon after this, and the crew is invited to Mote prime around seven weeks later (209, 211-2, 233). The trip to Mote Prime itself can't take more than three to five weeks even at 0.87 gravities; indeed it is probably less, since the return trip is two and half weeks. This would make it around three to four months from the time the Mote system is entered until the humans enter the Castle.

It seems that the first group of humans in the Castle (including Jackson and Weiss) spent only six days on the planet (282, also 279). The second group (without Jackson and Weiss) returned to the planet after the Kaffee Klatsch, but this was only one day before the coffeepot was discovered, so they would have spent only one day on the planet before being recalled (285, 289-290). From this point to the evacuation to Lenin was a matter of hours. And then this was immediately followed by the aforementioned two-and-a-half weeks to the departure point.

Total: something between three and five months.

The best solution is to stretch out either the time spent meeting with the Mediators in the cutter, or the time spent on Mote Prime itself, or both. Purists may prefer that all the stretching be done in space, since the intervals mentioned there are more vague. However, I like the idea of stretching the time spent on the planet as well; the text has the first trip as six days, and the second trip as just one day (or even just one night). This is hardly enough time for Sally to have gone on enough digging expeditions that she feels comfortable generalizing about Motie ruins (279).

To avoid making a hard decision on this matter, I have written the timeline of this book in four-month intervals (early 3017, mid-3017, late 3017, etc.)

By contrast, it is easy to establish that The Mote in God's Eye and King David's Spaceship take place simultaneously. Imperial traders have been on Prince Samual's World for less than a year before Spaceship begins (KDS 25). By chapter 10 of Mote, Samualite teak and grua have reached the Trans-Coalsack Sector. Meanwhile, the news of the battle-fleet assembled in chapter 55 of Mote reaches Prince Samual's World by chapter 25 of Spaceship. Since both information and physical objects would take at least two months to travel this distance, this establishes a fixed relation between the chronologies of the two books, as shown in the Timeline.

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King Peter and The Gripping Hand

In The Gripping Hand, it is stated that Jock and Charlie were both Mediators for King Peter, and that Ivan was a Keeper associated with King Peter. (See especially Hand pp. 228, 256-57.)

But this is not the case. Jock was sister to the Fyunch(click)s of the MacArthur officers and passengers. Her master was the same as theirs. Charlie, on the other hand, served King Peter, who was in a power struggle with Jock's master: King Peter wanted to tell the humans the full truth about Moties, but an alliance of masters (including the master of the humans' Fyunch(click)s) disagreed, and prevailed. This power struggle turned into open war over the fate of the midshipmen. (See Mote 340-41, 350, 367.) Ivan himself was a Keeper not loyal to either of these sides. Even after the three ambassadors were in human space, they maintained distinct loyalties: Charlie wanted to disclose the truth about Moties, and was vetoed by the others (Mote 472, 515, 517, 540.)

The references to King Peter in Hand are not important to the story. Nonetheless, this seems an odd oversight, as it the rivalry between King Peter and the master of the humans' Fyunch(clicks) was the basis for the saga of the midshipmen.

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Jackson's Expedition to New Utah in The Gripping Hand and Outies

Lawrence Jackson, who had been a mere Able Spacer during his visit to Mote Prime, arrived in the Maxroy's Purchase system in 3030, quickly became a local hero, and was appointed governor of the planet.

According to Outies, in 3035 Jackson led an expedition to the planet New Utah for the ostensible purpose of offering them membership in the Second Empire of Man, which they supposedly refused. Although Jackson lied about many details of the negotiations, the basic facts of the trip must have been common knowledge among those involved in Empire politics. This can be seen from two facts. First, oficial outreach to newly contacted planets was one of the most important aspects of Second Empire foreign policy (as is clear from King David's Spaceship and many other sources), so those on Empire business in a sector should not be unaware that a nearby planet was considered an "Outie" world. Second, after the expedition, Jackson appointed a commission that filed an official report on the trip (Outies 23, 27-29). Moreover, Horace Bury had an additional source of information: Asach Quinn, a member of the expedition, had supplied Bury with a secret report of these events (Outies 24-27).

Therefore, when Horace Bury and Kevin Renner had dinner with Lawrence Jackson on Maxroy's Purchase in 3046, they should have known of Jackson's expedition to New Utah, and he should have known that they knew of it.

But this does not fit with the description of the dinner in The Gripping Hand. When New Utah is mentioned, Jackson claims to know about it only because he has "read the old records" (Hand 20), and asserts the last expedition to that world took place "a few years before I got here" (Hand 21). Moreover, Bury and Renner are totally unaware of who Lawrence Jackson is: not until midway through the dinner does Renner figure out that Governor Jackson is the same Able Spacer Jackson who visited the Mote (Hand 22). Nor is it possible to suppose that Renner and Bury actually know about Jackson's history and are merely playing dumb, for when Bury hears that Jackson once visited Mote Prime, his blood pressure and vitals spike, a reaction that he is "hoping nobody would notice" (Hand 22).

Since the Jackson expedition is a key part of the Outies backstory, it seems best to accept that it happened as described in that novel, and declare a few bits of the dinner conversation in The Gripping Hand to be non-canonical.

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Falkenberg's History

In both The Mercenary and Falkenberg's Legion, Colonel Falkenberg's campaign on Hadley – his first public action as a mercenary – is stated as taking place in April 2087. (FL 244, 274 = Prince 210, 235.)

In chapter 12 of Prince of Sparta the current date is given as April 2096. (PS 274 = Prince 1068.) Since the internal chronology of Prince of Mercenaries / Go Tell the Spartans / Prince of Sparta is well-established, we can count backward and see that this puts Falkenberg and Lysander's actions on Tanith in Prince of Mercenaries in April and May of 2094.

If both of these dates are correct, then when Prince of Mercenaries begins, Falkenberg has been a mercenary for seven years.

Yet during Prince of Mercenaries, it is made clear in several ways that Falkenberg's previous mercenary career had been much longer than seven years, suggesting that one of these dates must be wrong.

Specific evidence that this interval is more than seven years:

There is, however, considerable ambiguity here. When Falkenberg is on Tanith, Lermontov and Grant are "ten years older" than during the election (FL 338), which is a gap mid-way between our seven years and Owensford's twelve years. Another oddity is that Senator Bronson's speech quoted on page 126 of Prince of Sparta is said to have been in May 2094, which contradicts the date of the Spartan Senate's decree (17 April 2096, per PS 274), because all of Prince of Sparta takes place in a single Spartan Spring and Summer, and the Spartan year is 19 Earth months. But this would make the gap in question five years, which is even worse! (This last may be a remnant of an earlier dating system which was later discarded; in The Mercenary the date of Bannister and Falkenberg's meeting on Tanith is given as 2093, but this date was removed when the book was reprinted as Falkenberg's Legion. Note also that Barton and Owensford's graduation dates in "His Truth Goes Marching On" were deliberately changed when that story was reprinted in Prince of Mercenaries. The original graduation dates would have put the Santiago Civil War in the late 2090's, which is impossible. However, it seems that the revision was incomplete; the history of Santiago given on PM 143-4 is now one generation too long.)

So we must look into either pushing the Tanith, Sparta, and New Washington campaigns later than the stated dates in the mid-2090's, or pulling the Hadley campaign and Lipscomb's election earlier than 2086-7.

I have decided to place the Hadley campaign in April 2081 (not April 2087), placing the election in November 2080. All dates affected by this choice have been marked with an asterisk. Anyone who disagrees with this choice may add six years to all dates so marked.

I have also left the date of the Spartan council meeting as April 2096, as stated; this puts Bronson's speech in early 2096. All dates between 2091 and 2096 (except War World events) are affected by this, and those who disagree may make them all 21 or 22 months earlier. (This makes it impossible for Slater to be in his fifties, and shortens the 12-year gap as well.)

  Update: The WWFR timeline and text confirms these conclusions: In 2080, Falkenberg was cashiered and Lipscomb was re-elected. In 2082, Lipscomb died and Vice-President John Holt succeeded him.

New Data from The Prince

The new material in The Prince led to a revision of the dates related to "He Fell Into a Dark Hole". These two pieces are connected via Sergei Lermontov's career record:

Previously, the date when the Lermontov/Grant/Blaine conspiracy began was unknown, except that Caldwell Whitlock joined it in 2075/6 (PS 73). Since "He Fell Into a Dark Hole" takes place after the conspiracy began, but before Lermontov's 2079 promotion, I had placed it around the year 2078. But the information in The Prince shows that this was earlier, since it's only five years after Lermontov becomes Vice-Admiral.

The dates here are tricky, because if "Hole" is too early, then Lermontov's promotion to Captain ends up prior to his appearance as a Commander.

Unfortunately, the date of the Arrarat campaign is also connected to contradictory facts. According to FL 44 (Prince 44), Falkenberg is "maybe" twenty-six at this time; he was born in 2043, so this suggests a date of 2069 or 2070. According to FL 44 (Prince 44), Hal Slater has just turned twenty-one; in September 2095 Lysander believes that Slater is "over fifty" (PS 18 = Prince 878), which would put Slater's twenty-first birthday no later than September 2066. According to FL 28, 126 (Prince 30, 110), Kathryn Malcolm was sixteen in 2064 and is "about nineteen" during the Arrarat campaign, suggesting a date around 2067. However, the claim that Slater is "in his fifties" and the estimate of Kathryn Malcolm's age are in the minds of other characters, who are estimating. So none of these dates are guaranteed.

By taking a later date in this range for the Arrarat campaign (2069), and allowing the "fifteen years ago" to actually be thirteen years (presumably rounded off to the nearest five), all the contradictions vanish. Lermontov is a Commander during the New Shanghai incident (thus 2062/63, dated 2063 in WWFR timeline), promoted to Captain later in 2063, promoted to Rear Admiral no later than 2069, promoted to Junior Vice-Admiral in 2071, promoted to Vice-Admiral Commanding in 2074, and finally becomes Grand Admiral of the Fleet in 2079.

The Prince also reveals that the conspiracy began earlier than we originally knew, since Lermontov tells Falkenberg about it in 2071. Of course, the "scale" of this conspiracy may have grown gradually – there is no reason to presume that Lermontov's explanation to Falkenberg in 2071 was as extensive as his explanation to Whitlock in 2075/6.

  Update: The timelines in War World: Jihad, War World: The Patriotic Wars, and War World: Falkenberg's Regiment agree with the 2069 date for the Arrarat campaign.

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War World Inconsistencies

Length of Haven's Year

In the first War World book, there is a detailed analysis of Haven's rotation and its revolution around its primary, Cat's Eye. This is on WWI 279, and perhaps as a result of this, the story authors were almost always consistent in describing the length of Haven's 260-hour "cycle", which was the length of three Haven rotations or two revolutions around its primary.

However, the length of Haven's year – or more precisely, Cat's Eye's year, i.e. the time it takes Haven and Cat's Eye to orbit Byer's Star – is not stated in this chart, and, sadly, the authors do not seem to have reach a common agreement on this point.

The most common year used is between 7.5 and 8 Earth-years (usually referred to as "Terran years" or "T-years"). This can be found in two stories by Harry Turtledove (WWI 291, 294; WWII 301, 341): "one Cat's-Eye year is almost 8 T-years", "2 Cat's-Eye years are 15 T-years", "slightly over four Cat's-Eye years are about 31 T-years". From these we could estimate Haven's year as pretty close to 7.7 T-years. John Dalmas refers to Haven's "years-long winter" (WWIV 25), which seems consistent with this.

But in one Steve Stirling story, we are told that one Haven year is exactly 1.63 T-years, and this is repeated three times (WWIV 308, 314, 323). This idea of a much shorter year appears in other places. Don Hawthorne says "Sergei's mare was due to foal in the Spring" (WWIV 81). The Dinneh leader in John Dalmas' "Coming of the Dinneh" lived for 34 years on Earth and then lived through 14 Haven winters (WWCD 204, 226); in Stirling years this makes him 57, but by Turtledove years he would be 142, an unlikely age even on Earth in that era, but unthinkable on on Haven. And the hero of G. C. Edmondson's "Strong Blood" is age 10, and after 5/4 of a Haven year (from one Winter to the Spring after the next Winter) is age 12, and it's clear he is still a young boy. Alan Brown's "The Boatswain" also has short years (in fact, his may be too short even for the 1.63 T-year figure).

Blood Feuds was written by four authors, including both Turtledove and Stirling, and it uses the longer years. Two of these (WWBF 29, 99) are holdovers from the Turtledove story in WWII, but some of the new material also uses long years: WWBF 13, 281 put the Haven year as "almost 8 T-years", and WWBF 19, 162 are consistent with this, though not so precise. At one point in a Susan Shwartz story a "Cat's Eye year" is changed to a "T-year" (compare WWII 377 with WWBF 53), although at another point a young child is said to be "over 2 Haven years old" (WWBF 89). Also, on WWBF 197, "five and a half Haven years" is equal to "thirty-five T-years", which may be a math error (this would make a Haven year about 6.4 T-years instead of 7.7).

The issue of seasons is also tricky. WWBF 174, 475 says that the 7.7-T-year year contains a 3-year Winter and a 1.4-year Summer (Haven is a cold planet, and these are really just convenient definitions). The shorter year naturally has shorter seasons. But what causes the seasons? In the north or the south of our planet, there is one winter per year. But at the equator the seasons repeat twice; the sun is overhead in September and March, and at the coldest angle in June and December – and the Shangri-La Valley is at the equator of Haven! I'm not sure if all the authors dealt with this (it may be suggested by John F. Carr on WWI 132). At one point Don Hawthorne states that the valley gets its weather from air travelling through the northern passes (WWIII 63-64); this might justify the equatorial valley having seasons which match the north, or even lag behind the north by a certain amount (an idea suggested by summer lingering in the valley after it is already Fall or Winter in the north in WWIV 81-2 and WWII 103). On the other hand, John Dalmas says that Cat's Eye has a very eccentric orbit and Haven's winter is due to the orbit, not to the axial tilt (WWIII 87-88); this of course would make seasons in the north, south, and equator all match. But there's no way to pretend all these are consistent – when the Sauron invasion comes, what season is it in Novy Finlandia (in the south-east of the continent)? It's winter according to Don Hawthorne (WWI 179-180) but summer in a John Dalmas story (WWIV 41). (For some balance, let me point out that the multiple stories of the invasion are extremly consistent and integrated; I'm just being picky and finding some small errors!)

On one hand, the authors seem inconsistent in their usage of years and seasons. On the other hand, in any given story the author is consistent in his/her usage. On the gripping hand, nearly all key time intervals in a story are given in T-years. So if the story says that so-and-so happened "two Haven years, or 15 T-years, ago" I will date it as 15 T-years before the story – it would be absurd to take the two Haven years and convert it into T-years using another author's conversion.

However, this does mean that the stories, read as a whole, give an inconsistent view of Haven's seasons. When the caravan and Aisha reach the Pale it is early Summer. She lives domestically in the Pale for a while, rallies the Seven, gets pregnant, fights a war, has her baby – and finally Winter is beginning. This takes 20 months of story-time, which fits the 1.4-year summer of the long years – and raising an army on the steppes in winter would have been next to impossible. On the other hand, after the Invasion each winter saw a famine and a migration, and these seem to be "short" year winters. But if you read the stories without keeping track of the seasons, you'll never notice any problem.......

Kennicott Metals and Dover Minerals

During Falkenberg's campaign on Arrarat in the 2060's, Kennicott Metals is a rival to Senator Bronson's company, Dover Minerals (FL 196). But in the 2070's, Kennicott Metals is referred to as a Bronson company (WWCD 112, 294). Was this a continuity error on the part of the War World authors, or does it indicate that Bronson bought out Kennicott Metals?

  Update: This question has been resolved. The two stories that had referred to Kennicott as a Bronson company have both been reprinted ("Janesfort War" in War World: Discovery, and "Politics of Melos" in War World: Takeover). The reprinted versions changes the text in question, making it clear that Bronson's family own Kennicott Metals, while the DeSilva family owns Dover Minerals. This is also clearly stated throughout War World: Jihad.

The Random Jump

The Empire was completely victorious at the Battle of Sauron. Sauron's fleets were destroyed and the planet was laid waste. Only one ship, the Fomoria, managed to escape the carnage. Under an acceleration of 11 g, it managed to reach an Alderson point in the Sauron system and then engaged in a "random jump".

This "random jump" is mentioned on WWI 144, WWII 223, and in the WWIII timeline. The suggestion is that the Empire couldn't follow the Fomoria because they didn't know its destination.

However, this is not consistent with the way Alderson Jumps work in Pournelle's books. Each Alderson tramline connects exactly two points, each in the vicinity of a star. (The exceptional case of a deep gravity well that isn't a nexus of strong nuclear forces is dealt with in "He Fell Into A Black Hole".) Sauron's star might be surrounded by several Alderson points, but each point can only lead to one other star. No randomness is possible – if you see what point a ship went into, you know where it's going to come out.

Subsequently, two different "fixes" were presented:

First solution: In The Battle of Sauron (1st ed.) pp. 284-85, the random jump is explained as a sequence of jumps through several systems, controlled by the computer making random choices. This probably is the best explanation that could be offered. It still doesn't make complete sense, since it still doesn't take into account the fact that one must travel for a while (sometimes even for weeks) to get from one jump point to another inside a system, but it's a good way to account for the previous contradiction.

     Second solution: In The Battle of Sauron (second edition) prologue and chapters 31:ii-33, and also War World: The Lidless Eye chapter 7, it is explained that the Fomoria began a randomly-chosen jump sequence as described previously, and successfully jumped from the Sauron system to the Wayforth Station system. The computers randomly chose the next jump to be for the Comstock System. But just as the ship was about to jump, the star Betelgeuse went supernova, and although this was hundreds of light-years distant, the strong nuclear forces change the Alderson geometry and Fomoria ended up in the Haven system instead of the normal terminus of that tramline.

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Blood Feuds / Blood Vengeance Ambiguities

The first half of the novel Blood Feuds is a revision of the stories "Far Above Rubies", "The Field of Double Sowing", "Juchi the Accursed", and "Seven Against Nûrnen". The rest of this novel and its sequel Blood Vengeance are new material.

The internal dating of the first five chapters of Blood Feuds ("Far Above Rubies" plus "The Field of Double Sowing") is clear; there is never more than half a year's ambiguity. Similarly, the dating from chapter 6 of Blood Feuds to the end of Blood Vengeance is well-established. The difficult questions are: how much time passed between chapters 5 and 6, and what absolute dates can be determined about these stories?

Juchi is born at the beginning of chapter 1. At the end of chapter 5 he is "about 31 years old" (WWBF 99), and it has been 15 years since Dagor was killed, which occurred when Juchi was 15 (WWBF 29, 98). Thus when Juchi is exiled, Juchi (and Chaya) are 30 or 31 years old, and Aisha is twelve (WWBF 83, 98).

How long did Juchi's exile last?

I have selected 51 as Juchi's age when he dies; this puts the exile between 20 and 21 years in duration. The first five references cluster around that amount. The final two references make the exile longer, but they also put Aisha in her mid-forties during the vast majority of the story, and this seems hard to envision.

What about absolute dating? From the very first page of Blood Feuds, we are told that it has been "300 years" since the Saurons came to Haven (i.e., the end of 2640). This is repeated a dozen times throughout the book, nearly to the end (WWBF 491), even though 53 years have passed during the novel. Once this "300" becomes "over 300" (p. 124). Then at the beginning of Blood Vengeance (which starts immediately after the first novel) this jumps to "350 years", and remains that for all of Blood Vengeance. (The second novel only lasts for five months.) Two variations appear: WWBV 112 makes this "over 350", and WWBV 214 says it is "300 years since Diettinger died" (which was probably in the late 2670's).

Obviously these intervals are all approximate. But as the authors upped the "300" figure to "350" at the beginning of the second novel, it seems reasonable that they had noticed the problem of the "300" persisting all the way to the end of the first book. (Since the gap between the beginnings of the books is 53 years, the "300" and "350" figures could be fairly accurate if we assume the "300" was meant to refer to the beginning of the story.)

I have chosen 2940 – 300 years after the Sauron invasion – as the beginning of the first book. That puts Juchi's exile in 2970/71, his death in late 2991, the end of Blood Feuds and the beginning of Blood Vengeance in mid-2993, and the end of the second book in late 2993. If we take WWBV 112's "over 350 years" as literal, the books cannot end before 2990 in any event, and there seems little reason to push them much later than this either.

The first five chapters of Blood Feuds, and all dates calculated from these events, are marked with one asterisk (*). Dates from the remainder of these two novels and all dates calculated from them are marked with two asterisks (**). This allows the reader to alter one or both of these blocks if my logic doesn't suit you.....

The Aydin War and "Tayok's Base"

"Tayok's Base" takes place some time after Juchi was exiled, as Angband Base has been deserted by his clan and fallen into disrepair. The Aydin War takes place very shortly after "Tayok's Base"; this war is referred to several times during the later parts of the novels. But exactly when the war occurred seems unclear.

Shulamit bat Miriam fan Gimbutas is seventeen years old at the end of Blood Feuds; this is stated at several points (WWBF 347, 525; WWBV 12). Her father, Yohann bar Rimza fan Gimbutas, died in the Aydin War (WWBF 328). WWBF 531 says that Shulamit was eight when he died. After his death, Shulamit's mother married Shmuel fan Gimbutas, who became the father of Erika bat Miriam. However, Erika is only two or three years younger than her (WWBF 328), and this would naturally imply that Shulamit's father must have died when she was a baby.

Shulamit reappears in "Shame and Honor" (see below!), which states that Shulamit is 21 and the Aydin War took place "20 years ago" (WWIII 318, 321, 344). On the other hand, this story suggests that her father did not die in the Aydin War, but in a different Sauron raid!

It's unclear what is correct. Assuming that Shulamit's father did die in the Aydin War, and that Shulamit was one or two years old at the time, I have tentatively placed the war in 2976** or 2977**.

"Shame and Honor"

The story "Shame and Honor" is the last of the tales of the haBandari and the inhabitants of the Pale in the 30th Century on Haven. In particular, it involves Karl bar Yigal fan Reenan, and Shulamit and Erika bat Miriam fan Gimbutas, who were introduced in "Seven Against Nûrnen"; it follows that story in War World Volume III, which was published in 1991.

After the publication of WWIII, authors S.M. Stirling, Susan Shwartz, Harry Turtledove, and Judith Tarr wrote the War World novels Blood Feuds and Blood Vengeance, which incorporated most of these stories. However, they did not incorporate "Shame and Honor", and many of the details of that story are incompatible with the new parts of the two novels.

Shulamit is seventeen at the end of Blood Feuds (WWBF 525), which means she is seventeen or eighteen at the end of Blood Vengeance. In "Shame and Honor" she is twenty-one (WWIII 344), and thus this story takes place three or four years after the novels. (This is 2996** or 2997** in my dating system; see notes above.)

But there are some problems with putting this story after the two novels:

It is worth considering if this story could take place before the great war. But that's even less possible. When we first meet Karl, Erika, and Shulamit in the novels, they are children who have never seen battle. In "Shame and Honor" they are all adults; two of them are married and all of them are quite experienced.

Perhaps one might question whether Karl, Shulamit, and Erika are the same people in this story. After all, Shulamit's clan is spelled "Gumbutas" instead of "Gimbutas" here. But it's clearly the same character; the story of her father's death and her vow at her Bat Mitzvah are identical, as are her relationships with Karl bar Yigal (her ex-lover) and Erika (her half-sister, though incorrectly stated not to be Ivrit on WWIII 287).

Finally, Karl and Shulamit telling a non-Bandari about the secret Xanadu Road doesn't fit in any timeline. Before the war, this was a complete secret, and certainly no strangers could have passed along that road. After the war, the secret had been revealed to everyone.

There are three possible resolutions:

I should stress that these errors are probably not accidental. Concepts such as the Xanadu Road, first mentioned in this story, were later used in a new way by the authors when they wrote the novel, and they were doubtless aware that "Shame and Honor" had become invalid by their rewrites.

For completeness, I have put the story in the timeline after the novels. However, I personally would rather declare this story non-canon, simply because I found the resolution of the Shulamit/Karl romance rather dismaying......

Roland Denzel points out that in Blood Vengeance, a leader in the Seven's army mentions a legend about the rescue and return of Borta to the Mongol leader. This gives strong evidence that the authors intended for "Shame and Honor" to take place before the end of Blood Vengeance.

"A Lion to the Sea"

This is the last story set on Haven. Indeed, "Haven's Hell" and "A Lion to the Sea" are the only stories set on Haven after the tragic cycle which ends with Blood Vengeance and "Shame and Honor".

According to the WWI 312, "A Lion to the Sea" is set a full four hundred years after the Sauron invasion – around 3040.

As with "Shame and Honor", this seems a bit odd. The Saurons in the story do not seem like the Sharku-revived Saurons which we might expect. (See WWI 344, for instance.) Of course, it is possible that Sharku failed. But it might make more sense to put this story in the 2990's – and assume that word of Sharku's reforms had not yet reached the Saurons in the western part of the continent.

This story can't be set earlier than the war of the Seven, since at various points during that war Dinneh warriors "from Tierra del Muerte" are mentioned. (See WWBF 492, 516; also WWIII 273. The correct spelling is Tierra del Muerto, by the way, which is indeed how it appears in John Dalmas' story. Tierra del Muerto is "Land of the Dead One", Tierra de la Muerte is "Land of Death", but "del muerte" is incorrect in any event. Of course if we were using Spanish consistently, "Dinneh" would be "Diné".)

Regardless of how this issue is resolved, WWBF 161's reference to "Dinneh-trapped pelts from the Western Ocean" is impossible. The Dinneh had never seen the ocean before "A Lion to the Sea" (WWI 314), but after that story they would have remained out of contact with the continent-dwellers.

Roland Denzel points out that "A Lion to the Sea" was published before many of these other stories (see Bibliography), and that therefore it isn't surprising that it doesn't mesh well with the rest of the timeline.

I have left "A Lion to the Sea" at its stated date of 3040. It is very tempting to move it to the mid-2990's, for the reasons given above. But on general principles I don't want to alter any dates given in the text except when they are clearly impossible due to continuity errors.

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Jerry Pournelle's Future History . . . . . Ambiguities, Difficulties, and Contradictions
Updated 12 May 2023 by Larry King

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