Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Some Points to Note In "The Only Game In Town"

Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006).

(i)"Kublai" (p. 133): a sovereign or military ruler.

(ii) Anderson establishes early, on p. 135, that Everard and Sandoval have taken Scotch to 1280 AD because that will be important later, when the fate of the universe depends on a drinking session.

(iii) "Noyon" (p. 135), or "Noyan," was a title of authority, originally meaning "military commander," in the Mongol Empire.

(iv) "'The Tengri willing...'" (p. 137): misled both by the definite article and by the "-i" ending, which resembles a Latin masculine plural, I thought that the Tengri were the gods. In fact, Tengri, or the Tengri, is the chief Mongol god, the Sky-Father, married to the Earth-Mother.

(v) Bonwit Teller (p. 140): I had no idea what this meant, a quality New York department store - which went bankrupt thirty years after "The Only Game In Town" was published.

(vi) A Confucian scholar says, "'I am a stranger and ignorant...Forgive me if I do not understand your talk of irresistible weapons.'" (p. 144) Everard thinks, "Which is the politest way I've ever been called a liar..." (ibid.) More humor, I think. Excellent scholarly Diplomatese.

(vii) "Coronado" (p. 147) was a Spanish conquistador who visited North America.

(viii) "Pueblos" (p. 147) are Native American communities living in large buildings. Pueblo is Castilian for "town," derived from Latin populus, "people."

(ix) "Grand Cham" (p. 149): I could not find this on google.

(x) "Sachem" (p. 149): a paramount chief among some Native American tribes. The term is used in Poul Anderson's There Will be Time.

(xi) A "...yeibichai..." (p. 153) is a Navajo dance. The yeii are supernatural beings.

(xii) A "potlach" is a gift-giving feast among some Native American tribes.


  1. I found this online;

    "An embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham, emperor of China..."

    and also found that 'The Grand Cham' was the title of a book by Harold Lamb, which I must have read at some point because it seems familiar, where the title character is a Turkish potentate of some kind. It's set in the 14th century and is an adventure story typical of boy's comics in and around the fifties.

  2. "Cham" is an alternate spelling/pronunciation of "Khan".

    1. Mr Stirling,
      And thank you.

    2. Gentlemen:

      "Cham" is one of those words or titles I should have commented on when I first saw Paul's puzzlement.