Thursday, 30 May 2013

Building On The Past

The first time I read Poul Anderson's The Day Of Their Return, I was not yet familiar with the Chronology of Technic Civilization and imagined that I was reading a work set two or three centuries before Dominic Flandry's lifetime so I was surprised when his name suddenly appeared in the text - although here he is merely quoted.

Like any good installment of a future history series, The Day Of Their Return is a major story in and of itself but also builds on what has gone before. The series has a pyramidal structure.

"The mutiny in Sector Alpha Crucis..." (The Day Of Their Return IN Captain Flandry: Defender of the Terran Empire, New York, 2010, p. 82) was the subject matter of the previous volume, The Rebel Worlds, with "...the Jihannath crisis..." (ibid.) in the background. We are told that "...Terra...brilliantly, put the rebels down..." (ibid.) but not that the brilliance in question was entirely possessed by one young Dominic Flandry.

A Merseian conceding that, recently, force has not worked well for his side, cites not only Jihannath but also Starkad where, again, they were foiled by Ensign Flandry, in Ensign Flandry. He also acknowledges that the joint commission on Talwin has worked well for Terran Naval Intelligence. That commission exists because of Flandry's initiative in A Circus Of Hells. In fact, a volume not featuring Flandry has become overdue in the series!

One of the viewpoint characters in The Day Of Their Return, Chunderban Desai, is from the planet Ramanujan which was first mentioned in a Nicholas van Rijn story. Here we learn that Ramanujan has a Mount Gandhi. Desai's cigarette holder, a present from a young daughter, is of " ivory..." (p. 86). We do not know whether land-whales are native to Ramanujan but we are told that his tobacco is from Esperance which was first mentioned in a, different, van Rijn story and also appeared in the early Empire novel, The People Of The Wind.

Uldwyr also refers to the Domain of Ythri with which Terra was at war in The People Of The Wind and Desai soon refers to the Troubles which were the subject matter of "The Star Plunderer" so , yes, Poul Anderson writes a solid future history series.

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