Wednesday, 1 October 2014

John Ridenour

We see John Ridenour from Dominic Flandry's point of view on Starkad, then as one of the viewpoint characters on Freehold - see also here.


is a civilian xenologist, working for the Navy;
is tall, wiry, blond and hatchet-faced;
dresses more serviceably than fashionably;
smokes a pipe;
is married with children, at least one of them grown up;
is standoffish by nature;
learned about Freehold from conversation, reading and "...machine-enforced mnemonics..." -Poul Anderson, Captain Flandry: Defender Of The Terran Empire (New York, 2010), p. 4;
travels to Freehold on the Germanian merchantman, the Ottokar;
is annoyed when a crewman insists on talking as they get their first view of the planet but then cannot be ungracious to the younger man.

The passage introducing Ridenour includes the phrase "...wilderness of suns..." (ibid.), a slight variation on the appropriate and evocative "...wilderness of stars..." that we have noticed several times previously. See here, here and here.


  1. Hi, Paul!

    And one of the things I remember about "Outpost of Empire" was how Ridenour demurred, at the beginning of the story, about being sent to Freehold to give a socio political analysis of the situation there. Because he was not one of the too rare xenologists (I don't think that is the correct word to use in this context) who specialized in studying humans. He was sent to Freehold anyway because the Navy needed an objective analysis and because many of the xenological methods used for studying non humans would also apply to humans.

    I agree, "...wilderness of suns..." is an evocative line!


  2. Sean,
    Today I have been otherwise engaged and also reading Modesty Blaise. See the Comics Appreciation blog.

    1. Hi, Paul!

      I quite understand! We all can and should read other writers besides our favorite authors. I'll go to the Comics page when I have more time.

      I did wonder if "Outpost of Empire" used the word "anthropologist" for scholars who "xenologize" human societies.