Saturday, 13 December 2014

Swordsmen Of Terra

Dominic Flandry is a swordsman and "Flandry of Terra." Thus, although Poul Anderson's uncollected short story, "Swordsman of Lost Terra," was not incorporated into his History of Technic Civilization, I had hoped that it would be set in a similar future. However, the story turns out to be "The third book of the Story of the Men of Killorn" and to recount "How Red Bram fought the Ganasthi from the lands of darkness..."

Skipping ahead before turning in, I gather that the lands of darkness are not a supernatural realm but the unlit half of a planet whose other side permanently faces its sun and, further, that this planet is Earth in a far future.

In sf, the Latin noun, "Terra," with the specially coined adjective, "Terran," usually differentiates Earth from other planets in hard sf futures. However, in this story, unless I have missed it, the word "Terra" appears in the title though not in the text and the characters do not know that their world had been called "Earth."

Thus, so far, two of the uncollected stories, "War-Maid of Mars" and "Swordsman of Lost Terra," have not turned out as expected, although I will read "Swordsman..." through to ensure that I am not missing anything.


  1. Hi, Paul!

    I think you need to keep in mind one or two things about "Swordsman of Lost Terra." First, Poul Anderson wrote it for PLANET STORIES, a magazine which favored swash buckling pulpish adventure stories. The SF it published was better described as "science fantasy," not the serious, hard SF we find in BRAIN WAVE, also pub. when Anderson was writing for PS. Second, PA wrote these stories for PS when he was a young writer still learning how to write, between 1950 amd 1955.

    Btw, "Terra" is used for our Earth by the exiled English in THE HIGH CRUSADE.


  2. Right. I am too easily disappointed.

    1. Hi, Paul!

      Simply try to mentally readjust yourself so you can ENJOY swash buckling science fantasy stories of the kind PA wrote for PLANET STORIES. We don't have to always read only sternly serious hard SF! (Smiles)

      And, even so, PA himself tried to transcend or improve on the basic PLANET STORIES model (such as the early Flandry stories). Or used sardonic humor to invert the cliches favored by PS (e.g., "Captive of the Centaurianess."