Sunday, 19 October 2014
Origins Of Van Rijn
Those of us who first read the Technic History not in ASF but in books first encountered van Rijn in Trader To The Stars, which collects "Hiding Place," "Territory" (ASF, 1963) and "The Master Key" (ASF, 1971). For us on first reading, it was appropriate that "Territory" was prefaced by a long expository passage quoted from "Margin of Profit." That was van Rijn's first story which we had not yet read and thus it had an authoritative status.
As for van Rijn's fictional origins within the series, there is no information. Sandra Miesel's Chronology of Technic Civilization says:
2376 Nicholas van Rijn born poor on Earth.
-Sandra Miesel, "Chronology of Technic Civilization" IN Poul Anderson, The Van Rijn Method (New York, 2009), pp. 611-619 AT p. 612.
For an alternative view of the Chronology, see here.
Do the texts confirm that van Rijn was born poor? If not, it is a logical deduction. Van Rijn reminisces:
"He thought back to the days when he had ridden ships through yonder spaces, bargaining in strange cities or stranger wildernesses, or beneath unblue skies and in poisonous winds, for treasures Earth had not yet imagined. For a moment, wistfulness tugged at him. A long time now since he had been any further than the Moon..."
-Poul Anderson, "Margin of Profit" IN Anderson, The Van Rijn Method, pp. 135-173 AT p. 147.
Thus, a feel for his earlier days but no biographical data.