Thursday, 30 April 2015

Starting Section 4

Poul Anderson, The Boat Of A Million Years (London, 1991).

Mr and Mrs Tu become tenants of Tomek Enterprises in the Lost River country, Idaho. Again, I had not known that there was such a country and had never queried this curious phrase on any previous reading of Boat. Leave no stone unturned, or in this case leave no strange phrase uninvestigated, because something interesting is to be found under each of them.

This section is just over six pages in length and, after that, there are 208 more pages of the novel, including the whole of the concluding Chapter XIX, Thule. I have met two readers who disliked Chapter XIX and thought that it was discordant with the earlier chapters. I completely disagree with them. As someone else said in an Internet review, it is as if this single long work brings together elements from every previous work by Anderson. Interstellar exploration in a high tech future was a welcome surprise in the concluding chapter. Seaman Hanno becomes spaceman Hanno. He had thought in section 3:

"Gods damn it, he was a seaman, he wanted a deck again under his feet." (p. 375)

What better way to do that - thus leaving far behind the office-based life that had been forced on him in the twentieth century?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And I sympathize with Hanno's restlessness, both as a seaman and then as a spaceman. I am resigned, myself, to never getting off this rock, but I certainly hope new frontiers and worlds are settled off Earth! First, in the Solar System and then in interstellar space.