Friday, 4 November 2016

Time In A Net

Ythrians sky-hunt with nets.

Holm and Ferune discuss human-Ythrian interaction on Avalon. Ferune comments:

"'...we don't catch time in any net.'" (Rise Of The Terran Empire, p. 462)

What does he mean? We cannot hold onto the past? We cannot control the course of events? This is an important reflection on life, whether human or Ythrian.

A later conversation refers not to the past but the future. Matthew Vickery, President of the Parliament of Man, says:

"'...Give you military your heads, and you'd build bases in the fourth dimension to protect us against an invasion from the future.'" (p. 490)

Ferune's reply is superb. He grabs hold of Vickery's metaphor and turns it the other way around:

"'We are always being invaded by the future...The next part of it to arrive will not be pleasant.'" (ibid.)

Ferune:

is an iconoclast;
reads Terran classics in three original languages for pleasure (I wish I could);
follows the human custom of serving wine to dinner guests;
is impatient of tradition, religion and conservatism;
endures minimal formalities from necessity;
belongs to a large, progressive, mechanized, prosperous choth;
is an example of an alien who learns from, then surpasses, humanity. 

3 comments:

  1. IIRC, that remark is based on something Lord Salisbury (then PM of the UK) said in the 1890's -- that the military would like to build bases on the Moon to guard against an invasion from Mars.

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    1. Dear Mr. Stirling,

      I'm pleased to see another comment here by you. I happen to be rereading your ON THE OCEANS OF ETERNITY and more than once I found Andersonian allusions by you.

      Your comment about Lord Salisbury interested me! It makes me wonder if the PM had read H.G. Wells recently published THE WAR OF THE WORLDS.

      Truth to say I do have some sympathy for the military's attitude. In a very dangerous and chaotic world it makes sense to have some preparations against possible attacks.

      Sean

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  2. Kaor, Paul!

    And the BIBLE was one of the ancient Terran books Ferune liked to read. In Chapter VII of THE PEOPLE OF THE WIND we see him quoting Proverbs 20.2 to himself: "The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul." That was probably taken from the Anglican Authorized Version; the Catholic Douai Reims Challoner renders it thus: "As the roaring of a lion, so also is the dread of a king: he that provoketh him, sinneth against his own soul."

    I can't help but wonder why Ferune thought of Proverbs 20.2. Was it Poul Anderson's subtle way of saying the war between the Empire and the Domain was not all the fault of Terra? That Ythrian "death pride" and intransigence could be carried too far and needlessly angered the Terrans?

    Sean

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