Thursday, 30 May 2013

More On The People Of The Wind

Before attacking Avalon, the Terran Admiral prayed, indeed "begged":

"'Father, forgive us what we are about to do...'" (Poul Anderson, Rise Of The Terran Empire, 2011, p. 515)

That is asking rather a lot, isn't it? He adds:

"'Father, have mercy on all who die. All.'" (ibid.)

Maybe that is a bit better? Although Ythrians of the Old Faith expect to go down hell-road to Illarian while those of the New Faith expect only to honor God the Hunter with a good fight when he stoops upon them.

"Avalon struck." (p. 535)

"The skies erupted in radiance." (p. 537)

Those two sentences, almost three full pages apart, describe the same event as viewed by different characters. Secret Avalonian ground-based defences strike and significantly damage the attacking Terran fleet although one Avalonian space boat is destroyed by "friendly fire."

Anderson obviously approves of Daniel Holm, who had organized those defences, but he lets a Terran character articulate the opposite view:

"''s old Holm, of course, and a few other old men and Ythrians, who don't care how many young die as long as they're spared confessing their own stupid, senile willfulness...'" (p. 603)

This is very convincing although we do know that "old Holm" is not senile and does care.

Terra is represented by the honorable, praying Admiral and by the odious Sector Governor who promoted this war that will enhance his career. While hoping to seduce the Admiral's daughter, the fifty-three year old Governor is pleased with his performance, "...acting the role of a boy who acted the role of an homme du monde!" (p. 472) We are pleased that his performance does not impress its intended victim.

Eve Davisson, an Esperancian "...willowy blonde..." dating a Terran space boat captain, reminds him that:

"'This world was settled by people who believed in peace...'" (p. 487)

but adds:

"'I shan't join the demonstrators, whatever some of my friends may say when they learn I've been out with an Imperial officer.'" (p. 488)

So, although we do not see them, we know that anti-war campaigners demonstrate in Fleurville and, this time in an Anderson novel, maybe we can think they are right? Later in the History, Dominic Flandry and his fiancee join beings of Merseian species marching to the Parliament on Dennitza.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I disagree with you in calling Governor Saracoglu "odious." I not only thought him a pretty decent man but I also liked how he was able regard himself with some ironic humor. Also, the war with the Domain was not all the Empire's fault, Ythrians were also behind some of those border clashes and disputes which brought on the conflict. And Ythrian intransigence in the face of the far greater power of Terra was not exactly wise.


Paul Shackley said...

I think if you reread the passages about Saracoglu you'll get the impression that PA meant us to dislike him. He dismisses 2 expensive mistresses because he is after Luisa, then thinks he can get them back or can easily get others. He plays a role of a young man pretending to be a man of the world instead of speaking honestly to Luisa. False self-deprecating smiles etc all calculated for their effect, nothing truthful.

Sean M. Brooks said...


Thanks for your comments, even if I still disagree.

But that bit about "expensive mistresses" actually bears me out. They were professional courtesans who were apparently both well off and had no expectations of anything permanent with Saracoglu.

And while he was certainly attracted to Dona Luisa, I never saw him behaving improperly to her. And he did speak candidly to her about the problems Terra and Ythri were having.


Paul Shackley said...

Saracoglu's thoughts: "If she can't see or doesn't care that it was on her account I sent Helga and Georgette packing (surely by now the gossip about that has reached her, though she's said no word, given no sign), well, I can probably get them back; or, if they won't, there's no dearth of others." RISE OF THE TERRAN EMPIRE, p. 579.