Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Son Of The Sword Spoilers

Another, to me, unfamiliar word in Poul Anderson's "Son of the Sword": "...stridulent..." (Alight In The Void, New York, 1993, p. 141).

I thought that there was yet another but now can't find it. (Maybe that was it.)

Why do people talk about cities dreaming? Either Oxford or Cambridge has "dreaming towers" and:

"The city appeared over the horizon and they went past. Very white and fair was Akhetaton, dreaming between stony cliffs on the banks of father Nile." (p. 138)

The idea that cities dream is deployed to fantastic effect by both Neil Gaiman and China Mieville.

In one interpretation of philosophy, "idealists" believe that consciousness determines being whereas "materialists" believe that being determines consciousness. These are highly abstract terms, particularly "being," which here means how people physically exist and earn their living, the materialist view being that these economic questions precede and underlie "consciousness," how people think and perceive the world. Thoas, the hero of "Son of the Sword," expresses the materialist view but in a very concrete way. He thinks that "soul," collective, not individual, comes from landscape because the latter forms bones, flesh and thoughts. Thus, mountains and sea make the Cretan soul wild and light whereas deserts and river make the Egyptian soul strong but narrow:

"...marching down an endless road that ran to eternity..." (p. 150)

"Son of the Sword" climaxes with the invention of the battering ram, the derivation of the verb "to ram" from the noun "ram" and, despite the earlier condemnation of Akhnaton's pacifism, an affirmation of the loving god, Aton.

Later: I found the other unfamiliar word, "...luffed..." (p. 153)

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