Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Many Transitions

Baen Books' Poul Anderson The Technic Civilization Saga, Vol III, Rise Of The Terran Empire (New York, 2011; compiled by Hank Davis) is a paradigmatic transitional volume. It collects:

the end of the van Rijn series;
the end of The Earth Book Of Stormgate;
two early pulp stories introducing the Terran Empire;
the novel that provides the background for the Earth Book.

In that latter novel, the Terran Empire has grown to its maximum volume whereas its future antagonist, the Merseian Roidhunate, is still small but growing... We await only the debut of Dominic Flandry in Vol IV.

Tabitha Falkayn/Hrill of Highsky Choth says of herself and her chothmates:

"'Most of us keep to the Old Faith...'" (p. 502)

but also:

"'God stoop on me if I ever make use of him...'" (p. 600)

The Old Faith is polytheistic whereas the New Faith is of God the Hunter. But religious phrases permeate language whatever individuals believe. Avalonians are in long-term transition to a single biracial culture:

"'...this thing of ours, winged and wingless together...'" (p. 662)

Even Daniel Holm, who opposed his son joining a choth, invokes "'Deathpride...'" (p. 566), draws strength from a New Faith funeral rite and describes Admiral Cajal contemptuously as "'...that Terran...'" (p. 560)

One cultural difference is discernible during negotiations. Cajal notices that Holm is:

"...haggard, unkempt, stubbly, grimy, no hint of Imperial neatness about him..." (p. 552)

Holm bluntly tells the Admiral that he does not believe anything he says whereas the Admiral preserves the diplomatic niceties while learning that the colony on Avalon has indeed become an alien culture.

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