Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Occasional Reading

Occasionally, I mention other books being read at the same time in order to locate Poul Anderson in his wider literary context. We thank the gods for the English language that gives us the works of PG Wodehouse and Poul Anderson, a new Sandman series by Neil Gaiman and English translations of Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano novels.

Wodehouse began writing about English class society shortly after World War I and continued to write about that same social set-up decades after it had gone out of date. It seems that there can be no connection between the universes of Wodehouse and Anderson. However, everything does connect somehow.

Jeeves In The Offing (London, 1960) refers to:

"...those horrors from outer space which are so much with us at the moment on the motion-picture screen." (p. 13)

Thus, Wooster inhabits a world in which people watch sf films and therefore also, although this is not mentioned, read sf novels, including those of Poul Anderson.

Very Good, Jeeves! (London, 1957) contains the germ of a time travel story:

"I was back at the flat so quick that I nearly met myself coming out." (p. 106)

In Anderson's The Corridors Of Time and There Will Be Time, time travelers do return soon enough to notice their younger selves departing.

Anderson also wrote some humorous fiction. This is not what he is well known for but it does put him somewhere close to PG Wodehouse.


  1. Hi, Paul!

    At one time I had one or two of Wodehouse's Jeeves books, which I thought very amusing. Poul Anderson's commentator Sandra Miesel compared Dominic Flandry's multi talented Shalmuan pilot cum chef cum valet Chives to Jeeves. And the way we see Chives speaking and acting does remeinds me of Jeeves!

    Makes me think Poul Anderson read some of Wodehouse's work!


  2. Sean,
    I am certain that Chives is named after Jeeves and I should have thought to mention this.

    1. Hi, Paul!

      Well, there were differences between Chives and Jeeves, after all! Jeeves was not non human and did not shoot blasters or pilot starships. (Smiles)


  3. Hi, Paul!

    You mentioned how Poul Anderson also wrote some SF meant to be humorous. Quite true, and examples would be THE MAKESHIFT ROCKET, and the Hoka stories co written with Gordon Dickson (I esp. loved the stories in EARTHMAN'S BURDEN). And, I noticed the comedict elements to be found here and there in VIRGIN PLANET, usually moments where Davis Betram ends up looking less than heroic!