Saturday, 12 December 2015
-Poul Anderson, "Flight To Forever" IN Anderson, Past Times (New York, 1984), pp. 207-288 AT p. 207.
"It was raining again..."
-Poul Anderson, "Marius" IN Anderson, The Psychotechnic League (New York, 1981), pp. 13-28 AT p. 13.
These are the opening four words of two fictional narratives. Rain prepares us for a bleak time for the characters. Additionally, "That morning it rained..." prepares us for an important event that day whereas "It was raining again..." implies that times are already bleak. As the opening paragraph of "Marius" continues, it more than confirms this expectation:
the air is cold;
winter is approaching;
the street lights have not been restored - so they have been out for a while;
dusk comes early;
walls are ruined;
tattered people live in caves of rubble;
Etienne Fourre is a Maquisard chief;
he represents France in United Free Europe - so Europe has been unfree?;
he stubs his toe on a cobblestone;
this is painful through his worn-out boot;
he is used to swearing;
his fifty guards wear looted, patchwork uniforms;
their own insignia is a hand-sewn Tricolor;
one has lost an eye;
they are hungry;
food barges may be attacked by river pirates.
Fourre appeals to their national history:
"'Perhaps Rouget de l'Isle stumbled on the same rock while composing the "Marseillaise."'" (ibid.)