Thursday, 20 June 2013
In such a passage, the author can both give us new information about the character and remind us of what we have already read. Poul Anderson does both. Here, he lists no less than fifteen of Falkayn's memories. Six of these are about his wife, Coya. I will quote only the last two:
"...the splendor of an Ythrian on the wing, Coya bringing him sandwiches and coffee when he sat far into a nightwatch studying the data readouts on a new world the ship was circling..." (Mirkheim, London, 1978, pp. 81-82).
If we have read the Technic History in order, then we find that reference to a flying Ythrian extremely evocative. This is indeed one of the splendors of the History. The last memory is tantalizing because it refers to a quiet moment during the five year period when Coya had joined the trader team of Falkayn, Adzel and Chee Lan. No stories are set during this period. It occurs off-stage during the concluding sections of the extended Prologue to Mirkheim. We would like to read a collection of stories set during the period but, if Anderson had presented simply a linear series about the team, then he would never have got around to showing us the League's decline and its aftermath in later years.