Wednesday, 19 November 2014


This is ironic. Olgor hu Freylin, Warmaster in the Republic of Lafdigu in the southern hemisphere of Merseia (notice the non-Wilwidh type name) says:

"'...the most reasonable postulate is that none of the starfaring races have mental powers we do not. They simply have longer histories.'"
-Poul Anderson, David Falkayn: Star Trader (New York, 2010), p. 234.

Merseia will discover to its profit that at least one other race does have superior mental powers...

Meanwhile, Poul Anderson describes mornings on other planets, making us feel that we already know the places. On Merseia:

"Korych rose through winter mists that turned gold as they smoked past city towers and above the river. Kettledrums rolled their ritual from Eidh Hill. Shutters came down off windows and doors, market circles began to fill, noise lifted out of a hundred small workshops. Distantly, but deeper and more portentous, sounded the buzz of traffic and power from the new quarters, hoot of ships on the bay, whine of jets overhead, thunder of rockets as a craft left the spaceport for the moon Seith." (p. 242)

And later on Hermes:

"Still below the horizon, Maia, sun of Hermes, made the tops of steeples and towers in Starfall shine as if gilded. When it rose out of Daybreak Bay, its light struck westward over the Palomino River and straight along Olympic Avenue to Pilgrim Hill. There the brightness lost itself among trees, gardens, and buildings, the gray stone mass of the Old Keep, the fluid lines and many-paned walls of the New Keep, the austere erectness of Signal Station. A beam went past an upper balcony on the New Keep, through the French doors beyond, and across the bed of Sandra Tamarin-Asmundsen."
-Poul Anderson, Rise Of The Terran Empire (New York, 2011), p. 47.

We have already been told that Korych is the sun of Merseia and that is evident in any case. There are gold mists in Ardaig and gilded steeples and towers in Starfall. Work begins in Ardaig. We have never heard of Eidh Hill but feel that we are familiar with its drum ritual. The use of place names generates a feeling of familiarity. In Starfall, Maia light shines across the River and along the Avenue, both named, and penetrates the New Keep where it focuses on a single person who is already known to us so that the feeling of familiarity is not entirely misplaced.

No comments: