Friday, 6 September 2013
"No Truce With Kings": Conclusion
In this particular fictitious future, an army hex corps carries wands of power to counteract witchcraft not because magic has been found to work, as in some other works by Anderson, but because superstition has grown during the breakdown of civilization after a nuclear war. Thus, hexes can exist in science fiction whereas hexes that work exist in fantasy.
The young widow will not let her son grow up to be a soldier but will instead join a community dedicated to peace. Anderson, not a pacifist, here shows the central character's daughter opting for a path different from that of her father and husband.
We know that aliens have been involved behind the scenes because we have read two of their dialogues earlier in the story. Nevertheless, I find it a wrench when the human characters entering an enemy stronghold capture a small group of seven-foot, seven-fingered, avian-featured beings with rudimentary wings. The change of perspectives here is too abrupt. But I have got a lot more out of the story on a second reading.