Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The Old Comradeship Of Brontothor

Poul Anderson, "Flight to Forever" IN Anderson, Past Times (New York, 1984), pp. 207-288.

First, Anderson makes us aware of Brontothor as a place:

"A gray stone mass dominated the landscape. It stood enormous a few miles off, its black walls sprawling over incredible acres, its massive crenellated towers reaching gauntly into the sky. And it lay half in ruin, torn and tumbled stone distorted by energies that once made rock run molten, blurred by uncounted millennia of weather - old." (p. 249)

So it is gray, of stone, massive, dominating, enormous, black, sprawling, unbelievably big, with battlements, gaunt, half ruined, weather-beaten, old. It is also described as grim, barbaric and monstrous in size with some towers half a mile high. Further, it is surrounded by wind, snow, rocky hills, pine trees, naked crags and ice. The structure looks dead but Belgotai sees a banner flying, then two aircraft rise from it.

Later in the narrative, Anderson writes:

"...the old comradeship of Brontothor was dissolving in the sudden fury of work and war and complexity which claimed them." (p. 273)

Since we are now invited to think of Brontothor not only as a place but also as a comradeship, we think back to the characters who met and made their plans there:

the time travelers, Saunders and Belgotai;
the Galactic Empress, Taury the Red;
Vargor Alfri, prince of the Empire;
half a dozen old men with long beards;
a centauroid;
Hunda of Haamigur, general of the Imperial armies;
a long-beaked avian from Klakkahar;
the Dreamer, last of the Vro-Hi, counsellor of the Empire.

Hunda is four-armed, tailed, fanged, yellow-eyed, blue-furred and naked except for a leather harness. The Dreamer is four feet high with stumpy legs and many seven-fingered hands, beaked, golden-eyed, telepathic and half a million years old.

A fine fellowship! And it would indeed be quite a feat to get such disparate beings to work together.

(Does Hunda sound like the First Officer of Flandry's first command?)

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