Friday, 23 August 2013

Space And Stars

Space Folk and Starfarers are two similar Poul Anderson titles. (A third evocative title was Star Ways but that had to be changed for republication to avoid apparent plagiarism of Star Wars.) However, Starfarers is a novel incorporating two of the three Kith short stories whereas Space Folk is a collection of twelve short stories, including:

the prequel to Tau Zero;
the sequel to The High Crusade;
a story set against the background of Anderson's Psychotechnic future history although not fully consistent with that series;
the, to me problematic, "Murphy's Hall," which is in other collections and which I discussed recently.

That leaves eight stories in Space Folk that I will read or reread for posting purposes.


the remaining Kith story, "The Horn of Time the Hunter," should be published as an Epilogue to future editions of Starfarers;
"Pride" should be published as a Prologue to future editions of Tau Zero;
"Quest" has rightly been published as an Epilogue in a later edition of The High Crusade.

Space Folk (New York, 1989) seems to be remarkably free of the duplication of contents that plagues Anderson collections. Glancing ahead, I have found, in the opening sentence of "Horse Trader", one of Anderson's characteristically unfamiliar terms, "...aeolipile..." (p. 261).

Regular blog readers might like to google this before I do?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

An aeolipile is a rocket style jet engine which spins when heated. An early form of steam engine described by the Roman Vitruvius and possibly invented by Hero of Alexandria.

I don't think it's necessarily a "plague" that many of Poul Anderson's collections of his short works duplicated the same stories many times. These were reprinted in pocket sized paper backs not meant to be treated like volumes in a COMPLETE COLLECTED WORKS OF X,Y,Z.

I would also argue that, as a free lance writer, Poul Anderson was trying to sell his works as widely as possible because that was how he made his living. And doing so also had the advantage of encouraging as many readers as possible to read him.