Tuesday, 10 September 2013

One More Biblical Quotation

OK. I spoke too soon. There is a fourth Biblical quotation in Poul Anderson's The Peregrine (New York, 1979):

"Canst thou draw out Leviathan with a hook? ...Will he make a covenant with thee?" (p. 176)

This quotation is occasioned by the sight of several of the Alori sailing through a storm in a longboat pulled by some large swimming animal.

The Alori have a superhuman ability to control nature without machine technology. An escaping human group, pursued by the Alori, travel in a boat that has a sail, tiller and cabin but is nevertheless "...a living tree, fed by sea minerals and earth laid in the bottom." (p. 172) The boat soaks up incoming water and expels "...a fine rain..." from its sides (p. 175).

Before escaping, the human beings had been housed in hollow trees with naturally grown doors, windows, curtains, mossy carpet soft enough to sleep on, luminous plants, shelves, water tap and drain beside a bush whose fruit can be used as soap. The Alori can pass messages through the forest and get it to sing during a festival - branches, water, birds and animals. It is also possible to sleep outside. Rain is clean, warm and unproblematic.

However, the Alori are able to cross space only in stolen spaceships and cannot tolerate the approach of machine culture. So, by their own admission, their culture must go under when the Stellar Union expands into the Great Cross region.

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