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High Justice von Pournelle
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High Justice (1989. Auflage)

von Pournelle (Autor)

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455743,163 (3.14)4
Mitglied:Alex.McLintock
Titel:High Justice
Autoren:Pournelle (Autor)
Info:Baen (1989)
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High Justice von Jerry Pournelle

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This is a group of short stories about the 'near' future in space. Most of the stories were written in the early 70's & push Pournell's bleak view of the US's future along with some top notch science that is the hallmark of his fiction. There is plenty of adventure & interesting scenarios both on earth & in space. A good read & worth keeping around. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Jun 19, 2013 |
baen ebook
  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
My reactions to reading this collection in 1993. Spoilers may follow.

“A Matter of Sovereignity” -- This story was originally published in 1972, and it’s very much a product of its time (but not in a bad way – I enjoyed it). Not only are the technological trappings (nuclear power is extensive with nuclear powered ships, sea farming, icebergs being towed and then sold for water) and ideas, but also its sense of pessimism (the U.S., presciently, is seen as increasingly diverting its research money into welfare payments – a characteristic and valid Pournelle complaint derived from straight line political extrapolation) with corporations being depicted as powerful, extranational entities. Here one, Nuclear General, is being bulled by third world Fijians (Third World bullying of rich corporations was another common thing in the sixties and seventies). The central idea is that legally corporations have few recourses to defend themselves; they are not legally sovereign entities entitled to the right of self-defense. Nuclear General makes a deal with Tonga, also having problems with Fijians (actually powerful immigrants like Chinese and Malays), whereby Tonga get its high tech (and ability to make nuclear weapons to give it a needed ability of self-defense) and Nuclear General gets the benefit of sovereignity under the Tongan flag. Multinational corporations, bullied, oppressed, and heavily taxed by national governments, increasingly taking on the actual and legal trappings of sovereignity is the major theme of this collection of linked stories.

“Power to the People” -- This story’s title not only refers to the conventional sixties revolutionary/Marxist idea of the phrase. It is also personified in Rondidi politician Ifnoka, an ex-American who left America as part of the Emmigrant Act of ’82 whereby a one way ticket to anywhere and $2,000 were granted anyone who would permanently renounce U.S citizenship and residency – seemingly a response to not only sixties’ racial tension but also welfare costs). The phrase literally refers to the industrial schemes of a consortium of the World Mission society, Nuclear General, and other companies. Through nuclear power and towed iceberg water, they establish an interesting, well-worked out scheme to develop farmlands in the Namib desert, work mines in the surrounding areas, and extract minerals from sea water. None of the operations make much of a profit individually but do when carefully integrated (the advantage of building an industrial society up from nothing). The scheme is threatened by Ifnoka flooding the area with Rondini refugees, and his threats to overthrow prime minster Tsandi and nationalize the Consortium’s holding. One of the major traits of this series – people complaining about the “excessive” profits and power of the various corporations is here. So is the notion, as a Nuclear General troubleshooter explains to the World Mission Society, that altruism is ultimately a failure and sometimes counterproductive. Profits are necessary before development can begin which will help everyone, are necessary for charity to exist. The answer, rightly given here, to the Ifnokas of the world who complain of their wealth being stolen by capitalists is that wealth is only created by the inventive skill, capital, and risk-taking of business. The Consortium eventually plays hardball with Ifnoka. In negotiations, they separate him from his army buddies in Rondini, ship guns to rival Tsandi (who understands profit relationships much better than Ifnoka) supporters, and suggest Ifnoka supporters be rounded up. Bill Adams (troubleshooter for Nuclear General in this story and “A Matter of Sovereignity”) is sort of the corporate, less martial equivalent of Pournelle’s great creation John Christian Falkenberg of the CoDominium series. He alters the political landscape through his scheming. Chinese communists are mentioned as being allied to Ifnoka, but there is remarkably little mention of the Soviets – odd considering the time – in this series of stories.

“Enforcer” This story centers around the notion of a multinational corporation, INTERSEC, devoted to protecting multinational corporate property via contracts with corporations and countries giving them districts of exclusive police and judicial powers. The corporate property to be protected here is yet another clever industrial facility (almost every story in this collection has one). This facility is on an iceberg and involves seabed mining (a notion not talked about much – that I’ve heard – since the early eighties – but then no one much talks about the high tech, industrial schemes anymore that fill this book) operation, and it’s threatened by a junta of Argentine military officers who want to nationalize it and break their contracts with INTERSEC. Most of these officers can be blackmailed by INTERSEC (or talked out of their notions, but not the influential Colonel Ortiz. The story’s protagonist and enforcer of the title is Enoch Doyle (the typically cultured, competent, and well-educated Pournelle hero), and he is to dissuade Ortiz. But, first, we're given a brief history of the benefits of turn of the 20th century international law – human rights, charters, rules of real blockades, prisoner of war and laws of war. Pournelle sees a benefit in international law as practiced then, law taken seriously by the Great Powers even among themselves and even by Hitler at times. It was corrupted by the United Nations’ Charter which ruled that, legally, force could only be applied in the interest of self-defense, that murder of a country’s citizen, breaking of contract, nationalization were not valid reasons for war. Doyle tries to convince Ortiz that he can not and will not let Argentine renege on its contracts (steps are taken to severally weaken Argentine currency). For his part, no matter the harm done to Argentine and international trade, Ortiz remains fanaticaly oppossed to corporations like INTERSEC taking on the judicial and police trappings of sovereignity. It’s revealed at story’s end that his unreasoning hatred of INTERSEC is because as a young man he was rejected by their academy. Doyle drugs Ortiz into paranoid schizophrenia and thereby destroys his political career.

“High Justice” -- This story features another industrial complex (here a laser-lift launch facility linked with an orbital manufacturing station) and an important figure in this series, the rich Laurie Jo Hansen, a woman determined to escape the governments and bureaucracies of Earth and gain space for man. Her plans are being foiled by the jealous, populist, socialist (it never comes out and calls him this, but it’s clearly implied in his rhetoric) U.S. President Greg Tolland. She hires Aeneas McKenzie, an old lover and ex-attorney general for Tolland (before he uncovers corruption in Tolland’s regime which gained power on a platform of rooting out corruption). McKenzie is depicted as man uncorruptible but oppossed to the concentration of power in Hansen’s hands. But, he has nowhere else to go but back to Hansen. Their romance resumes, and McKenzie is sent to bring law and justice to Hansen’s space station. An agent of Tolland has murdered the captain of the station, and no earthly court will try him. McKenzie does and personally executes him, another example in this story of corporations assuming sovereign powers.

“Extreme Prejudice” -- This story features a burnt out hitman and two typically seventie's sf notions: talking dolphins and undersea farming and mining. CIA assassin Gideon Starr is sent to the facility to kill one Hank Shields, himself a former CIA assassin who walked out after refusing to kill the Aeneas MacKenzie of “High Justice”. Starr is not fond of the idea but he is, in typical Pournelle fashion, a creature of duty. In the end, though, he decides not to kill Shields. He respects the man and his work. He finds the people of the facility motivated, proud, smart, involved – total opposites of the people in America. However, the whole dolphin part of
the plot didn’t have much emotional power over me.

“Consort” -- Another story featuring Aeneas MacKenzie and Laurie Jo Hansen. U.S. President Greg Tolland is still out to destroy Hansen Enterprises so Hansen, in typical Pournelle fashion, plays political hardball. She has obtained incontrovertible proof that Tolland, who ran on a platform of rooting out corruption (the Makenzie stories are probably all post-Watergate), was a knowing participant in the corruption of his administration. (Politicians corrupting themselves, compromising their values for personal profit or to further their political agendas, are the main concern of this story.) For not revealing it, she blackmails Tolland into getting the U.S. government to boost a vital payload to her so that she can start her lunar colony and flee Earth, its interfering governments and her skittish business partners. The story ends on a sort of sad note when the formerly incorruptible MacKenzie is willing to let Tolland stay in office rather than expose him so that Hansen can realize her ambitions. Though it helps her and he does it for love, Hansen is a little saddened by Mackenzie’s compromise.

“Tinker” -- This story of a spacegoing family and their tramp ship of the solar system reminded me of Robert Heinlein’s stuff, particularly the family relationships where the kids get a minimum of supervision and everyone has jobs they know and are expected to do. The well worked technical and economic details were interesting and clearly anticipate the asteroid civilizations of Pournelle and Niven’s The Gripping Hand. I was very surprised at this final installment in the linked collection of tales. It was surprisingly downbeat and ambivalent towards the values of the earlier stories. (I was not surprised that the plight of liner Agamemnon was from sabotage ordered at behest of Rhoda Hendrix, head of Jefferson Corporation. It was obvious.) Most of the stories in this book involve corporations bedeviled by government regulations and predation developing the trappings of sovereignity in self defense. Many feature people griping about corporation greed, extortion, and exploitation. There is some of that here. The asteroid miners of Jefferson, on the verge of bankruptcy, resent interstellar cargo haulers and big corporations. Hendrix is trying to form a nation out of the settlement on Jefferson’s Corporation’s asteroid. Oswald Dalquist, insurance agent for Hansen Enterprises (not neartly as heroic as in other stories featuring it in the book) sent to the asteroid to investigate a suspicious death of an old friend and former Hansen employee makes the valid (and oft-repeated in this series) reply that large profits are needed for the capital investments that make possible a trade with asteroid miners and that large profits are necessay for people to take large risks. Yet, the community of asteroid miners (and the family that owns the ship Slingshot) are exactly the sort of rugged, frontier individualists that are the heroes of so much of Heinleinian sf. At story’s end, the scheme of Hendrix and a few other members of the Jefferson Corporation to perpetrate an insurance fraud scheme, is foiled. The Corporations Commission (te powers of Earth have no real enforcement powers in space) denies they are a government body, state they are just a “means of settling disputes” but they talk of invading Jefferson Corporation’s holdings but eventually decide to just buy a controlling amount of stock. They also threaten a (or at least Hansen Enterprises, the leader of the syndicate that buys the controlling stock, does) a very real blockade of Jefferson Corporation. Dalquist tells Hendrix that there’s “no place for your kind of nationalism out here”, that Jefferson is not “independent no matter how often you say you are”. Though they chastise Jefferson Corporation’s pretensions of nationalism, the powerful corporations have the power of nations though,perhaps,it is exercised on the basis of international law as explicated in the earlier story “Enforcer”. The narrator is understandably uneasy at story’s end. Perhaps Pournelle’s point is that any governing body inevitably accumulates power that is used corruptly. ( )
  RandyStafford | Mar 12, 2013 |
A collection of short stories detailing the rise of the companies that lead to the decline of the nations and eventually the CoDominium. That said they have very little similarity to the Codominum, and barely manage to get into earth orbit. Quite fun in their own way, with only a few re-occuring characters but you can sense the common theme, and progression of time.

It's always difficult to review short stories but his is more of a series of snippits in time, featuring the first nuclear reactor companies, and then as these are taken for granted more fanciful uses for them. In each case there's a problem of some sort - be it technical, polticial, industrial or even military. A special advisor or key figure is sent on-scene to resolve the issue, he makes the one clever/clear decision to resolve matters, and then the next story starts.

A few of the early stories are very patronising or misogynistic which is I guess a reflection of the time they were written, sadly the events forseen in the then near future (our recent past) have yet to come to pass, but at least society has moved on a bit.

readable and passes the time, but probably of most interest if you're exploring Pournelle's writing career or the history of the CoDomenium. ( )
  reading_fox | Apr 17, 2012 |
NIL
  rustyoldboat | May 28, 2011 |
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AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Jerry PournelleHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Moore, ChrisUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Soyka, EdwardUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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