Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Dwarfs

Poul Anderson, Operation Luna (New York), Chapter 27.

Tolkien, Lewis and Anderson all describe dwarfs. Lewis and Anderson also describe Martians. Dwarfs and Martians have big places in our collective imagination. They are fantasy and sf, respectively. When an author describes Martians, he is free to write whatever he wants. Lewis respects Wells well enough to inform us that the latter's Martians are very different from the "real Martians."

By contrast, when an author describes dwarfs, he has to be authentic to the myths and legends. It is as if the dwarfs were real beings. Lewis informs us that they like digging in the way we enjoy what we regard as leisure activities. Anderson describes the dwarf Fjalar exactly as we expect:

four feet tall;
wide and thick;
musceled and massively boned;
hairy;
large red nose;
bearded;
leather aproned;
sooty and scorched;
unwashed;
wearing wooden shoes.

Fjalar refers to "'...holmgang.'" (p. 246)

"Holmgang" was a story in Anderson's early Psychotechnic Future History. Thus, this is a third allusion to an earlier period of sf. See here.

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And we see mention of how the German dwarves, after they were re-Awakened, showed themselves zealous German patriots who gave Germany's enemies a heck of a lot of trouble during the Kaiser's War. Perhaps we are meant to be reminded of how the German Jews were staunch patriots?

    Sean

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