Poul Anderson was one of the most acclaimed and prolific science fiction writers of the 20th Century, and one of his most popular series was The Psychotechnic League, which told the story of the rise of a new civilization after a devastating nuclear war in the late 1950s that very nearly obliterated mankind.
The Psychotechnic League began as a Future History, a popular beast among short SF writers of the 40s and 50s. Anderson published the first story, “Entity,” in the June 1949 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, and set the opening of his series a decade in the future. The series continued for the next two decades, (appearing in Astounding, Planet Stories, Worlds Beyond, Science Fiction Quarterly, Cosmos, Fantastic Universe, and other fine magazines), eventually extending into the 60s. In the process, his “Future History” gradually became an “Alternate History,” as actual history trampled all over his carefully constructed fictional timeline.
That didn’t seem to bother readers though, and the tales of the Psychotechnic League remained popular well into the 80s. The series included some 21 stories, including three short novels: The Snows of Ganymede (1955), Star Ways (1956), and Virgin Planet (1957). The short stories and one of the novels were collected in a trilogy of handsome Tor paperbacks in 1981/82, with covers by Vincent DiFate (above). Now Baen books is reprinting the entire sequence in a series of deluxe trade paperbacks, starting with The Complete Psychotechnic League, Volume 1, on sale next month.
[Click the images for bigger versions.]
Here’s the back covers for Cold Victory and Starship. Once I find my copy of The Psycho-Technic League, I’ll scan that one too.
The short novel The Snows of Ganymede first appeared in the Winter 1955 issue of Startling Stories, and was reprinted as half of an Ace Double (paired with War of the Wing Men) in 1958.
Here’s the publishing details on the Tor paperbacks.
The Psycho-Technic League (285 pages, $2.50, June 1981)
Cold Victory (284 pages, $2.75, March 1982)
Starship (284 pages, $2.75, June 1982) — including Virgin Planet
All three have covers by Vincent DiFate.
Two of the Psychotechnic League novels, Virgin Planet and Star Ways, appeared in a mass market omnibus edition from Baen in 2000 (right, cover by Clyde Caldwell). It’s now out of print, but copies are relatively inexpensive in the aftermarket. Not sure if this means they won’t be included in these new volumes; I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
The Complete Psychotechnic League, Volume 1 contains three novellas and one short story, “Marius.” Plus an introduction by Sandra Miesel. Here’s the complete TOC.
The Psychotechnic League by Sandra Miesel
“Marius”(Astounding, June 1957)
“The Un-Man” (Astounding, January, 1953)
“The Sensitive Man” (Fantastic Universe, November, 1953)
“The Big Rain” (Astounding, October, 1954)
Afterword by Poul Anderson
Here’s the cover for The Complete Psychotechnic League, Volume 1. The cover art is by by Kurt Miller (click for bigger version).
And here’s the description.
The first of three volumes collecting ALL of the Psychotechnic League future history stories, from multiple Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning author Poul Anderson. After World War III ravages the globe, humanity, led by the Psychotechnic Institute, bands together to create peace on Earth and to spread that peace throughout the solar system and beyond. But soon the cycle of war and destruction begins anew. Includes short stories never before collected in a Psychotechnic League volume.
FROM THE ASHES OF WORLD WAR III
World War III has ravaged the globe. Once great nations have been brought to their knees. Now, a new science offers hope for the future: Psychodynamics, the ability to influence government and popular opinion. Led by the Psychotechnic Institute, humanity denounces its violent ways, once and for all. While peace reigns on Earth, humankind ventures out into the Solar System — and to the stars beyond. But soon the cycle of war and destruction begins anew.
The first of three volumes collecting all of multiple Hugo- and Nebula-Award winning author Poul Anderson’s massive future history magnum opus. Includes short stories previously uncollected in a Psychotechnic League volume!
The Complete Psychotechnic League, Volume 1 will be published by Baen Books on October 3, 2017. It is 240 pages, priced at $16. See more details (including story excerpts) at the Bean website.
Our previous coverage of Poul Anderson includes dozens of articles. Here they are.
See all our recent Future Treasures here.