Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Peregrine

Poul Anderson's first three novels were:

The Broken Sword (adult fantasy);
Vault Of The Ages (juvenile sf);
Star Ways (adult sf).

Star Ways, not Star Wars. Never heard of it? Don't panic.

A publisher commissioned and accepted Star Ways but delayed publication for so long that Anderson's agent offered it to another publisher who:

cut the text to fit an exact page number;
cut erotic passages;
changed a character's name;
added chapter titles.

In 1978, when Ace Books reissued the novel, Anderson was able to remove the chapter titles but not to restore the text because he no longer had the manuscript. Finally, the novel was re-entitled The Peregrine because meanwhile Star Wars had been released. (When I googled "Poul Anderson Star Ways," I was asked whether I had meant "Poul Anderson Star Wars.")

I do not know whether Anderson changed that character's name back. However, since he supposed that the name had been changed because " looked too Russian..." (The Peregrine, New York, 1979, Introduction), the question becomes whether there is now a Russian-looking name in the book - "Petroff" (p. 73)?

In the 1979 edition, the list of "Books by POUL ANDERSON" includes:

The Saga of Dominic Flandry:

Just two volumes, one novel and one collection! The Flandry series grew to become six novels and two collections and also became just one part of the much longer Technic Civilization History.

I think that the evocative title Star Ways should be restored. The novel is a substantial installment of Anderson's first, Psychotechnic, future history, which has yet to be collected in a single complete edition as Baen Books did with the Technic History.

The Nomad culture starts in "Gypsy" when sixteen families become interstellar wanderers in the single spaceship Traveler under Captain Erling Thorkild. Three centuries later in Star Ways/The Peregrine, when the many ships periodically meet on the Earth-like planet Rendezvous, the President of the Captains' Council is by tradition the captain, still a Thorkild, of Traveler III.

Chapter I, a two page description of Rendezvous, tells us that, although the Nomads appreciate this clement planet, they sense the many differences from Earth and further informs us that the knowledge that this is not Earth "...becomes a hunger in you..." (p. 2) I question this statement. Human beings have adapted to many different environments even on Earth and they usually feel at home wherever they have grown up, however different that is from whatever their ancestors had experienced.

Three installments of the Polesotechnic History form a triad:

"Gypsy" introduces the Nomads;
"The Pirate" introduces Trevelyan Micah of the Coordination Service;
in The Peregrine, Trevelyan works with, then joins, the Nomads.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I am afraid you made a mistake here. "Gypsy," "The Pirate," and THE PEREGRINE belongs to the PSYCHOTECHNIC League series, not the Technic History timeline.

And, like you, I'm more inclined to think that most human settlers on other worlds would soon come to think of it as home. So long, of course, as the planet was terrestroid!


Paul Shackley said...

Hello, Sean,
I seem to have expressed myself unclearly here. In this post, I refer to the Technic History because those two Flandry titles are listed among other books by Anderson at the beginning of my copy of THE PEREGRINE. However, I then go on to say that THE PEREGRINE is a substantial installment of Anderson's first, Psychotechnic, History and to point out that this earlier history, unlike the Technic History, has not yet been properly collected together. So I thought that I was clearly differentiating the two future histories, not confusing them together. I do seem to have expressed myself confusingly, however.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Let's examine the paragraph which confused me: "I think that the evocative title STAR WAYS should be restored. The novel is a substantial installment of Anderson's first, Polesotechnic, future history, which has yet to be collected in a single complete edition as Baen Books did with the Technic History."

You were trying to distinguish the Psychotechnic League series from the Technic History. But I think you got confused by the similarity of PSYCHOTECHNIC with POLESOTECHNIC. Replace "Polesotechnic" with "Psychotechnic" and the confusion disappears.

And I hope someone like Baen Books does do a complete reprinting of the Psychotechnic League stories.


Paul Shackley said...

OK. The distinction between the two future histories was clear in my head but I wrote "Polesotechnic" instead of "Psychotechnic". Error corrected. Thanks.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Thanks. Apologies for being such a geek!