Friday, 28 June 2013

The Game Of Empire II

The fourth paragraph of Poul Anderson's The Game Of Empire (IN Flandry's Legacy, New York, 2012, pp. 189-453) informs us that Diana, still with no surname revealed, is homeless. She hides her few possessions in a ruined temple and sleeps there in a sleeping bag when she does not find a doss anywhere else.

She sits on the tower of St Barbara in the middle of the market square in the old quarter of Olga's Landing on the planet Imhotep:

" enjoy the ever-shifting scenes..." (p. 196);
to spy chances to earn credits by guiding newcomers - "Nonhumans were safe." (ibid.);
to run errands or find information for acquaintances who pay with money, meals, a doss etc.

The fifth paragraph, a colorful description of the life in the market square, refers to two intelligent species that we know from earlier in the Technic Civilization series. We learn that Imhotep is where the vaz-Siravo from Starkad were settled and that the Merseians have attacked recently.

The sixth paragraph begins:

"Folk were mainly human..." (p. 197)

- so some were not. Imagine living in such an environment. The human beings, most of whom have never seen Earth, differ in appearance according to the planets that they inhabit. Because of Imhotepan gravity, the locals are "...muscular and never fat." (p. 197) and, if their families have been on the planet for the generations since Olga's Landing was just a scientific base, are usually dark and aquiline.

That gets us to the end of the third page of the text. Unless we pause to savor these details, we miss many of them because we continue reading until the dialogue and action begin.

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