Thursday, 4 October 2012

Description Of Atlantis

What I am doing here is blogging while rereading, thus focusing on details in Poul Anderson's texts instead of just reading past them. If, instead, I had reread The Dancer From Atlantis (London, 1977) in its entirety before commenting, then I would have been spared a lot of puzzlement about Atlantis.

The description, when we reach it on pages 93 and 94, is clear:

a circular island eleven miles across with the volcanic mountain at the centre of the island and in the middle of the bay of a miles-wide lagoon;
a landscaped lesser island with buildings guarding the mouth of the lagoon;
a city rising from the water covering the hills;
Crete visible on the southern horizon.

Reid, approaching the island, thinks:

"Was Atlantis no more than this?" (p. 93)

- then, entering the lagoon, realises:

"...that here was indeed a place legend would never forget." (p. 94)

Anderson makes the place real and credible - small but impressive enough to have launched the legend. Similarly, at the end of his Time Patrol series, he added a story about the Knights Templar and, again, was restrained in his treatment of the Knights: no great secret at their core but nevertheless a formidable organisation that changed history.

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