"Cold Victory" by Poul Anderson (1982)
"'I don't care how you feel or don't feel,' he said, stuttering a little now. 'It's that you're the future, the meaningless future when all men are as useless as I am now, and I hate you for it and the worst of it is I can't kill you.'"
This novel first appeared in 1982, though the stories that make up its individual chapters were first published in the 50s. The author has arranged these chapters under a single theme, though there are some discrepancies between events in different chapters.
This is the first of Poul Anderson's books I've read, so I'm not able to comment on how it relates to other books by the same author. I read one of his stories in an anthology recently, and even though it was far from the best story in that anthology, it was sufficiently intriguing to lead me to "Cold Victory."
He wrote a lot of books, and I gather from Wikipedia that he is/was one of the more political sci fi authors. He was also one of the more prolific, engaged in a writing career that stretched from the 40s to the early 2000s.
"Cold Victory" begins after the conclusion of World War III. Mankind survives the devastation to build a new society, creates thinking, feeling robots, and begins colonizing other planets. In the background there is the Psychotechnic League, an advanced group of psychologists who engineer many of the key moments in mankind's development. Anderson never really explains what psychotechnology is, but it seems to have a lot in common with Asimov's idea of psychohistory.
The "chapters" in this book - which are really stories in themselves - are all pretty good. Anderson was good about drawing characters into dramatic conflict, and his prose has a workmanlike quality that reminds me a lot of Jack Vance. "Cold Victory" does go on a few too many historical digressions for my taste, but I never found it dull.
I'd recommend this book if you're a fan of golden age sci fi. It's solid, well-written, and well thought out. I'd be interested to see what Anderson did with actual novels that weren't stitched together from preexisting stories. "Cold Victory" was good, but I'm thinking that it's far from his best.