Thursday, 6 December 2012

Two Old Stone Age Stories

HG Wells wrote two companion stories, "A Story Of The Stone Age" and "A Story Of The Days To Come." Poul Anderson, a Wellsian science fiction writer, wrote two Old Stone Age stories.

In "The Long Remembering," Cro-Magnons drive back Neanderthals. In "The Forest," the Forest, advancing north as the glaciers withdraw, drives before it the reindeer and the people who live on them. Thus, both stories describe major turning points.

In "The Forest," Thunder Horse, a hunter of the People, explores the advancing Forest, thinking that his people might move there to combine their skills with those of the Folk of the Forest whose numbers are mysteriously small. The Folk would welcome the People but Thunder Horse realizes that the People do not belong in the Forest whose Folk grovel before gods, even sacrificing their first born - which helps to explain their small numbers.

The People retreating before the encroaching Forest preserve their freedom at the expense of poverty on land bared by the glaciers. In his introduction, Anderson mentions innovations such as skis and dugout boats. The latter was conceptualized by Argnach-eskaladuan-torkluk "...while I, the I of my secret name, stood on a high mountain thinking strong thoughts," i.e., while he was abstracted, in "The Long Remembering" (Anderson, Homeward And Beyond, New York, 1976, p. 30). So "The Forest" should be read first.

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