Tuesday, 23 September 2014

To Be Previous

(Poul Anderson fans, please bear with me. This post is about Neil Gaiman, Paul Shackley and Dominic Flandry in that order - although why I belong in a list that starts with a successful writer and ends with a fictitious character remains to be demonstrated.)

Neil Gaiman...
...when first applying to work as a journalist, untruthfully claimed already to have worked for several well known magazines. He reasoned, first, that his prospective employer was unlikely to check and, secondly, that he would prove himself, or not, during his first few months of work. In fact, he then did work for all the named magazines within twelve months so was he lying or merely anticipating?

When I was preparing to work as Master in Charge of Religious Education at Bentham Grammar School, my predecessor, a Church of England vicar, said that he had ordered a set of Good News Bibles for First Year classes, adding "...with which, of course, you're familiar?" What could I possibly reply but "Yes"? I was committing myself to become familiar with the Good News Bible as soon as possible. Twelve months later, having been made redundant from the school, I started to train as an RE Teacher. (Sometimes, England is Looking Glass Land.) A fellow student had heard that, although the Good News was not a good translation, it was good to use if you just wanted the story. After a year of working with that text, I knowledgeably responded, "Yes, the Good News is very readable." I had fulfilled the commitment that I had made to that vicar.

Dominic Flandry...
...says, "'I've been too busy working with Commander Abrams.' In point of fact he had done the detail chores of data correlation on a considerably lower level."
-Poul Anderson, Young Flandry (New York, 2010), p. 44.

Because the nineteen year old Ensign Flandry has brought new data, well organized, and a live prisoner, he has been temporarily assigned to Commander Abrams' Intelligence section and he describes this temporary assignment as "'...working with Commander Abrams...'" when talking to the beautiful Persis d'Io. But he very soon is busy working with Commander Abrams, first as his aide on a trip to Merseia, then on a crucial and dangerous Intelligence mission. Flandry, confident, competent and creative, both makes claims and delivers the goods.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I'm a bit surprised the Anglican vicar wanted to use the Good News version of the Bible. After all, the Authorized Version is the standard translation used. But, I assume the style and language of the AV was thought too difficult and archaic to be used by students unprepared for it.

As for Flandry, well, he was working for the Intelligence of the Terran mission on Starkad, and Abrams WAS its commander, so he didn't really strain the truth too much! (Smiles)


Paul Shackley said...

We used Good News for Old Testament with 11-12 year olds and Revised Standard Version for New Testament with 15-16 year olds. The latter could take a public exam.