Sunday, 6 July 2014

Lodestar III

(I think that those wings look too bat-like, too Diomedean?)

When I stopped posting last night, I missed the next obvious point in the text. In an interstellar spaceship, the sky dwelling Ythrians need not only a corridor with a viewport but also an enormous hold to fly around in. Ythrian spacecraft have to be bigger than their Terran or Merseian counterparts.

It would be interesting to read about an interstellar expedition undertaken by Ythrians for their own purposes but this is not that. Nicholas van Rijn is looking for something in space and does not want anyone else to know about it so he lets it be known that he will take his twenty five year old granddaughter, Coya Conyon, on a lengthy cruise aboard his space yacht without even a single mistress.

This deceives his competitors into thinking that maybe he is slowing down. It also informs us the readers that Coya, now a professional astrophysicist working at Luna Astrocenter, has existed for the last twenty five years. She would have been fifteen at the time of the Satan affair, when van Rijn's protege, David Falkayn, became her hero. Van Rijn's ancestry was Dutch and Malay. Coya's grandmother was Mexican and Chinese. Malcolm Conyon, with Scottish descent via Hermes and African descent via Nyanza, came to Earth and married van Rijn's daughter, Beatrix Yeo.

Van Rijn's yacht left Coya and him on Ythri and continued in the same direction while they became the only passengers on the chartered ranger Gaiian (Dewfall), captained by Hirharouk of the Wryfields Choth, and traveled for a month into unknown space. It seems that, for comfort, van Rijn has moved a lot of his own furniture into the Ythrian ship; two loungers, a desk chair, an emperor-size bed, a sofa, a bookshelf and a drinks cabinet stocked with beer, gin, whisky, cognac, vodka, arrack, akvavit, wines, liqueurs, ansa, totipot, slumthunder, maryjane, ops, gait, Xanadu radium, soft drinks and coffee.

Maybe we are not learning about Ythrians but reinforcing our knowledge of van Rijn? But here is one detail. Hirharouk, speaking Anglic but using Planha phraseology, begins, "'For honor and life...'" -Poul Anderson, "Lodestar" IN Anderson, David Falkayn: Star Trader (New York, 2010), pp. 633-680 AT p. 647.
Then he corrects himself: "'...khr-r-r, I mean please...'" (ibid.)

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Commenting on the paragraph beginning "When I stopped posting..." Exactly! I think one important reason for why Ythrians, and later, the Domain, expanded slowly into space was because it was physically more difficult for winged beings to adapt to the cramping conditions of space ships than it was for humans, Merseians, Betelgeusians, etc. Mention was made that it was also more difficult for Ythrians to colonize other planets than it was for humans.