Tuesday, 28 January 2014
After the (loosely interpreted) "Historical" and "A-Historical" sections of Poul Anderson's Fantasy (New York, 1981), the third and last section is called "It Could Happen To You" - although I am not sure that it could.
The first story in the third section is "Interloper." I read this story many years ago, I think in an anthology. My next Anderson reading will be to finish "Of Thud and Blunder," then to reread "Interloper."
I remember a certain amount. The story addresses the question, "Why build an interstellar empire?" Sf readers are familiar with interstellar empires but not with that precise question. The story involves extrasolar aliens. That alone would be enough to make this work science fiction (sf). However, it also involves fairies. That on its own would change the story's category to fantasy. However, the fairies are scientifically rationalized so we are back with sf.
It is aliens versus fairies. The fate of Earth is at stake, unbeknownst to human beings - although, in reality, it is we who imagine those other kinds of beings. In this case, "aliens versus fairies" does not mean "science versus the supernatural" because, as already stated, these fairies, intelligent beings secretly coexisting with human beings, are scientifically rationalized.
Thus, this story's "King Oberon" (p. 210) is neither the Shakespearean Oberon of Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest nor the Shakespearean Auberon of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman (see image). However, I do remember that this Anderson short story contains many interesting details, which I will appreciate on rereading.