What are some similarities and differences between The Interlopers by Saki and The Machine that Won the War by Isaac Asimov?

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teachsuccess | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Similarities between The Interlopers and The Machine That Won The War.

1)Both stories are set against the background of a long-standing conflict: In The Interlopers, the generational conflict exists between the current progeny of two warring families, Ulrich from the von Gradwitz family and Georg from the Znaeym family. In The Machine That Won The War, the conflict is between humans and Denebians. 

A famous law suit, in the days of his grandfather, had wrested it from the illegal possession of a neighboring family of petty landowners; the dispossessed party had never acquiesced in the judgment of the Courts, and a long series of poaching affrays and similar scandals had embittered the relationships between the families for three generations. (The Interlopers).

It's hard to remember when we weren't at war with Deneb, and it seems against nature now to be at peace and to look at the stars without anxiety. (The Machine That Won The War).

2)Both conflicts aim to eliminate threats to life and property: In The Interlopers, both Ulrich and Georg view each other as mortal enemies. In order to preserve the integrity of individual claims to the disputed land, both view murder as a valid option.

Each had a rifle in his hand, each had hate in his heart and murder uppermost in his mind. The chance had come to give full play to the passions of a lifetime.

In The Machine That Won The War, Henderson asserts that, because of the Multivac, the 'menace hanging over Earth and all its worlds, over every human being,' has been ' shattered and destroyed.'

Differences between The Interlopers and The Machine That Won The War.

1)Different denouements to the conflict between opposing forces: In The Interlopers, both Ulrich and Georg face the possibility of death together, while in The Machine That Won The War, humans celebrate the complete annihilation of their Denebian enemy.

2)Human ingenuity versus the forces of nature: In The Interlopers, nature plays a large role in the conflict between Ulrich and Georg. Before Ulrich and Georg can carry out the claims of their physical threats against each other, 'Nature's own violence overwhelmed them both.' A powerful wind, courtesy of a merciless storm, topples a beech tree upon the two men, pinning them both under its unrelenting weight. Later, the two men reconcile, but their happiness is short-lived when peril advances in the form of a pack of wolves. In this story, the protagonists are helpless against a powerful antagonist: Nature.

In The Machine That Won The War, it is the Multivac, a supposed super-computer, which has been responsible for navigating and charting the victory against the Denebians. In the story, Henderson, the chief programmer, asserts that the Multivac was only as effective as the input it received. To that end, complexities resulting from the limitations of incoming data eventually forced Henderson to rely on his own knowledge and intuition. Both Jablonski and Swift concur. In the end, Swift reveals to Henderson and Jablonski that he relied on an even older system to facilitate important war-time decisions: the coin system of chance. In this story, humans are able to affect the outcome of their decisions either through human ingenuity or probability.

3)Reconciliation versus continued enmity: While Georg and Ulrich ultimately reconcile before an uncertain fate threatens their lives, the humans in Asimov's story do not reconcile with their enemies.

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