Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The War Of Two Worlds

The text of Poul Anderson's The War Of Two Worlds (New York, 1959) comprises:

an introductory passage without a heading;
Chapters I-XI;
an Epilogue.

In the unentitled introductory passage, "...Intelligence Prime, lord of the Solar System..." (p. 5), described as possessing  a "...great crested head..." (p. 6), starts to read a text hand-written by a now dead Earthman called David Arnfeld.

It is a safe bet that Chapters I-XI are narrated by Arnfeld and that the Epilogue returns to Intelligence Prime's pov.

Prime's people have conquered Earth and Mars. He refers to "...the Exodus..." (p. 6) and aspires to "...know peace under friendly stars..." (p. 5) so the conquerors seem to have crossed an interstellar distance. Although he is "lord," he operates in secret:

"It was not risky for him to appear at the window. His secret office was so high above darkened Sao Paulo..." (p. 5)


Arnfeld's text, dated 2043, gives his birth year as 2017, just four years from now and five years before the start of a war. He entered Lunar Academy at the age of twelve and was exec of Pallas Base at twenty five so his twenty first century has more interplanetary capacity than ours has had so far.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

You quoted from THE WAR OF TWO WORLDS: "It was not risky for him to appear at the window. His office was so high above darkened Sao Paulo..." And you wondered if that was a contradiction. I don't think it needs to be, because I don't think it would be easy for anyone to make out details at a small window near the top of a skyscraper. Unless you have a REASON to look in that direction with the necessary equipment. I don't think most men in a broken and defeated Earth would bother.


Paul Shackley said...

I meant is there a contradiction between Prime being lord of the Solar System yet operating in secret and the answer as we read further is no, of course.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Aha, now I see what you meant. This was one of those times there really was a secret plot carried out by undercover rulers.