Monday, 6 July 2015

Harvesters' Lunch

SM Stirling, Conquistador (New York, 2004), pp. 386-387.

Food has become a major sub-theme so let's stay with it. Harvesters' sandwiches are long, freshly baked, crusty loaves cut in half and filled with melting butter, honey-cured ham, home-made mayonnaise, onions, strong cheese and mustard, accompanied by potato salad also containing red pepper, boiled shrimp, roast quail and birdshot. They drink ice-cold water and freshly squeezed lemonade. We vicariously enjoy the characters' meals.

Stirling also presents a detailed description of the harvesting process as part of his fictional travelogue of the Commonwealth of New Virginia. Meanwhile, a political conspiracy threatens to shatter the peace. A Family Prime travels in secret, his suite of rooms hidden in a giant container loaded into a transport aircraft. The conspirators have duplicated the Gate complex for assault training purposes so they have not yet duplicated the Gate itself although they have a theoretical physicist, pretending to be a geneticist, working on the problem. And a Russian colonel called Garshin might ring some Andersonian bells?


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Yes, I have noticed Stirling's interest in food! And we see some of that in Anderson's own works, esp. in the meals of Nicholas van Rijn and the ones prepared by Chives for Dominic Flandry. Here's a bit from Chapter IV of A KNIGHT OF GHOSTS AND SHADOWS: "She stared at the open faced sandwiches growing beneath his fingers. Anchovies and pimientos lay across slices of hard-boiled egg on fresh made mayonnaise, caviar and lemon peel complemented pate de foie gras, cucumber and alfalfa sprouts revitalized cheddar cheese in the dignity of its age..."

    I'm rereading CONQUISTADOR, but I've not yet reached the portion where Tom Christiansen visits Adrienne Rolfe's estate of Seven Oaks, and see a very different side of her, manager of a working estate. One point I remember being how she hired short term labor using teenagers approximately aged 15 or 16 to help bring in the harvest. AND warned them to make sure they gave her letters signed by their parents giving their consent to this.

    Garshin, Garshin,...where did I come across that name in the works of Poul Anderson? I looked up a short stories like "The High Ones" and "The Communicators" looking for that name, but no luck!


    1. Sean,

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Aw, darn! And I actually reread THE SHIELD OF TIME not that long ago!