Monday, 24 June 2013

Mirkheim, Chapter XXI

Two important changes occur, very understatedly, in the concluding chapter of Poul Anderson's Mirkheim (London, 1978). In previous volumes of the Technic History series, Nicholas van Rijn had run the Solar Spice & Liquors Company while his protege, David Falkayn, had, with his fellow trade team members, traveled through space in their ship, Muddlin' Through.

However, these roles are about to be reversed. Now, Falkayn will run Solar Spice & Liquors because van Rijn will be traveling around in Muddlin' Through, trying to hold the Polesotechnic League together after its civil war. This mission is expected to last for several years. Thus, here is yet another entire period of the characters' lives and careers about which a short series of stories could have been written. Van Rijn will:

"'...patch the old garment so it will hold off the coldest winds till those who is close to me has reached a safe port...'" (p. 213)

(This sounds like Dominic Flandry comparing the declining Terran Empire to a late autumn with winter approaching.)

Also holding civilization together on Earth will be van Rijn's illegitimate son Eric representing the planet Hermes, helped and advised by Falkayn. And also conferring to prepare their planets for what is to come will be Falkayn's former traveling companions, Adzel and Chee Lan.

It is only after that that Falkayn will, we know, found the colony on Avalon - his "safe port" - and van Rijn will, we think, lead an expedition outside known space. We would have liked to have seen that.

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