Wednesday, 23 April 2014
NESFA Collections Vol 1
The table of contents fills a page but this turns out to be because many of the items are not short stories but short(er) verses. We recognize poems that, apparently, were published in Staves first but then were incorporated into novels. "Heinlein's Stories" is a comic verse, not, as I had hoped and expected, a serious article.
There is a page of haikus. I think that Anderson wrote the perfect haiku in his later novel, Genesis:
"The shadows, like life,
"Moved beneath summer daylight.
"Evening reclaims them."
There is a kind of sf hero who manipulates entire societies with clever schemes. These include James Blish's John Amalfi and an obnoxious extra-solar alien in Anderson's "The Helping Hand."
At last I have read "The Martian Crown Jewels," although I prefer the original Sherlock Holmes as he appears in "Time Patrol." At last also I have read the first of the three Wing Alak stories:
"The Double-Dyed Villains" (1949);
"Enough Rope" (1953);
"The Live Coward" (1956).
(I was born in 1949 and started to attend boarding school in 1956.)
Strangely, the first of these stories incorporates the titles of the second and third stories as phrases in its text (p. 161). This short trilogy deserves its own volume with the title League Patrol. Some of Anderson's characters work for organizations with diverse purposes:
the Time Patrol guards human history;
the Coordination Service guards the Stellar Union;
the League Patrol guards the Galactic League;
the Polesotechnic League makes a profit but spreads civilization in the process;
Naval Intelligence guards the Terran Empire.
Blish wrote about comparable organizations:
the Colonization Council "seeds" the galaxy;
Okie cities "pollinate" the galaxy;
Traitors' Guilds exchange intelligence and disinformation between interstellar powers;
the Service guards an expanding, intergalactic civilization.
Both the Time Patrol and the Service work with time: the Patrol studies and preserves the past whereas the Service receives messages from and guards the future.
Why are "Time Patrol" and two Technic History stories in this collection when they are already collected with the rest of their respective series? Why include so many of the non-series time travel stories when most of these are in Past Times which deserves to be revised and republished?