Sunday, 28 August 2016

Three Features In Two Sentences

Poul Anderson, Operation Luna (New York, 2000), Chapter 43.

"The clouds piled higher in the west, snow-bright on top, blue-black in their depths. The wind piped louder and colder." (p. 393)

This is a mobile scene, clouds and wind heightening. These two sentences display three features that we have already noticed in Poul Anderson's texts:

an appeal to at least three of the senses;
an active role for the wind;
the pathetic fallacy, although I will have to explain the context for this.

Three Senses
We see the clouds mounting, bright above but black below.
We hear the wind loudening.
We also feel the same wind coldening.

The Wind
It pipes again, like a Greek chorus commenting on the action.

The Pathetic Fallacy
While the clouds are piling higher, the magicians are trying to rescue Valeria Matuchek who meanwhile is on a broomstick flying uncontrollably out of the Solar System. What is about to happen is that, on the one hand, they will successfully reverse her path (good) but, on the other hand, she will now be flying not back to Earth but towards the stick's original destination, the Moon (bad). Thus, only partial success. The skyscape symbolizes this. Brightness is hope but blackness, loudness and cold are continued danger. In Anderson's works, every word and phrase counts.

5 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I agree, this literary "economy" of Poul Anderson is one of his many virtues as a writer. The ability to pack layer after layer of meaning into his stories. In some ways, rather like the "minimalism" of Hemingway, but with far more color!

    THE REBEL WORLDS is a good example of what we both seem to have in mind. A short novel, but with an amazing amount of meaning PACKED into it.

    Sean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sean,
      THE REBEL WORLDS is one example.
      Paul.

      Delete
  2. Kaor, Paul!

    I could name others as well! Such as A CIRCUS OF HELLS (albeit I wish we had seen more of Wayland's sentient level computer). And another thing Poul Anderson did well was in inventing very plausible non human intelligent beings who were ALIEN.

    Sean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sean,
      TAU ZERO, WORLD WITHOUT STARS, AFTER DOOMSDAY.
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      I agree! And WORLD WITHOUT STARS interests me as one of the stories Anderson wrote having unexpected, even shocking endings. "Welcome" and "Eutopia" being two others. I was still young enough at the time I first read "Eutopia" to not QUITE realize why the ending of the latter story was so shocking.

      Sean

      Delete