Monday, 11 November 2013

Mythical Beings

Having catalogued mythical beasts, it makes sense to mention mythical beings. The Unicorn Trade also includes "A Feast For The Gods" by Poul and Karen Anderson and "The Coasts Of Faerie" by Karen Anderson. I think I mentioned the Gods story a while back? In "The Coasts Of Faerie", a young fisher woman sees fairy coasts and a dolphin helps her to reach them while the fisher folk mourn her death.

The Unicorn Trade contains, by either or both Andersons:

humorous verses;
two sf stories;
a murder story;
a fantasy murder story;
an article;
a humorous "philosophical dialogue";
comments on quotations from some of the astronauts.

This is too much of a mixed bag for me. Some of the items belong in other collections together with works to which they are more closely connected. This volume needs a table of contents and a clear demarcation between the different kinds of works.


  1. Hi, Paul!

    I sort of agree with you in finding THE UNICORN TRADE very much a "mixed bag." Altho the term I had in mind was "eclectic." But I did appreciate how we see a fair amount of Mrs. Anderson's own work in this book. And a table of contents should have been included, I agree.

    One story I THINK was written by Poul Anderson but simply can't recall the title of is this: a story in which the "characters" are not human beings or even aliens but sentient, self aware computers. Opens with one computer making contact with another and almost immediately showing that other computer it could not be attacked, so they could get down to bargaining. Can you think of any story by Anderson which was like this?

    THE UNICORN TRADE contains some poems by Mrs. Anderson, so I would like to bring to your attention an apparently now rare and hard to obain book called STAVES. A collection of the poems of Poul Anderson. Altho I'm sorry to say "The Battle of Brandobar," "Mary O'Meara," and "The Queen of Air and Darkness" were not included.

    Hmmm, this note of mine was itself somewhat eclectic!


  2. Sean,
    Unless you mean the story, whose title momentarily eludes me, that I did discuss recently: human beings in an interstellar spaceship return to Earth to find that, in their absence, humanity has become extinct but computers have evolved and become self-aware. A woman in the ship blasts a robot with a radio transmission that affects him like an apocalyptic revelation...

    1. Hi, Paul!

      You mean "Epilogue," one of the earliest stories to use the concept of "von Neumann" machines. Alas, that was not the tale I had in mind. Wish I could remember the title of the other story I discussed, or even recall for sure it was by Poul Anderson.


  3. Sean,
    I knew that the story I meant had a title like "The Chapter Ends" but was not that!

  4. Hi, Paul!

    One of the things about "Epilogue" which interested me was how the story ends with the self aware computerized robot "Zero" praying to what we have to call God in words closely modeled on the Ave Maria.

    But "Epilogue" was not the story whose title I simply can't recall.