Saturday, 17 August 2013

Losers' Night

Returning to Poul Anderson's collection All One Universe, I had intended to reread some items that have not been mentioned on this blog as yet but first was drawn back into rereading "Losers' Night," although this has been discussed in relation to other Old Phoenix and parallel universe stories.

Every word of the story is perfect:

how the narrator finds the inn on a country road at night;
the signboard creaking in the wind;
the bronze elephant's head handle;
the interior of the inn, which I described in an earlier post.

We might expect the narrator to meet someone who recounts a single story to him and thus also to us. Instead, this is like a real night at the Old Phoenix. We read snatches of conversation, some that the narrator engages in and others that he overhears. We easily recognize two famous political leaders from different parts of the British Isles although one is not named and the other not till the end.

Francois Villon composes verses about Harald Hardrada and Simon Bolivar, thus echoing two other works by Anderson, and we understand that, on a previous night at the Old Phoenix, Villon had not interacted amicably with Kit Marlowe.

It is getting late so I will finish reading tomorrow. 

6 comments:

  1. Hi, Paul!

    I well remember "Losers' Night." And of course I recognized who the famous male British political leader was that we see in the story. (Smiles) But I think we would disagree on who the well known British lady was. Hint, I thought her one of the children of a certain English monarch who proclaimed himself "head" of what was once the Catholic Church in England.

    Sean

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    1. Hi, Paul!

      Exactly! I thought the well known British lady we see in "Losers' Night" was Queen Mary I. If you reread the parts of the story where we see her, I think you would agree she was Queen Mary.

      Sean

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  3. Replies
    1. Hi, Paul!

      But, it seems plain you at first thought it was Queen Mary of Scots we see in "Losers' Night." She too was a Catholic, so the crucifix alone would not absolutely identify which was meant by Poul Anderson. Guess I need to reread that story as well! (Smiles)

      Sean

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  4. Sean,
    Yes, I do confuse those two Marys but maybe most people in England do.
    Paul.

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