Sunday, 18 December 2016

Endings And Beginnings

This might be the last post of 2016. 1800 is a good round number of posts and I am (temporarily) running out of inspiration. Thank you all for page views, attention and interest during 2016. Merry Yule (21 December) and Christmas (25 December) and Happy New Year (1 January). Also, Happy Birthday (1 January) to me and neighbor, Derek.

Now is a time to contemplate endings and beginnings. A Poul Anderson time traveler spent some time with pre-men. Afterwards, they thought:

"You send stranger, Old Father? Stranger is Old Father?...
"Thank you, Old Father. This holy fire you have given us - we must never let it die."
-Poul Anderson, "The Little Monster" IN Anderson, Past Times (New York, 1984), pp. 142-163 AT pp. 162-163.

That sounds familiar.

SM Stirling's Nantucketers celebrate Christmas in 10 AE. Jared Cofflin, reflecting on the immigrants from Britain, thinks:

"...before the Alban War, back home they'd have given Sky Father a man, too, so the boss-god would be strong enough to chain the Wolf that would otherwise eat the sun and leave the world in eternal darkness."
-SM Stirling, On The Oceans Of Eternity (New York, 2000), Chapter Twenty-Nine, p. 575.

That also sounds familiar. How close are we still to our origins? See also here.

Addendum: On the other hand, a few relevant posts might appear:

on the Science Fiction blog. See here.
Also on the James Blish Appreciation blog. See here.
And the Logic of Time Travel blog. See here.
Also, the Personal And Literary Reflections blog. See here.

14 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I actually thought of "The Little Monster" when I saw the cover of PAST TIMES. It might well be the story I like best in that Anderson collection.

And one thing I remember about "Monster" is how Antonio Viana, the uncle of Jerry Parker, the boy accidentally sent back to that ancient past wondered if the "pre-men" Jerry met were already human, already had souls. The way the "pre-human" chieftain (perhaps too formal a title, that early, but it seems to fit) thought and PRAYED certainly seemed human to me! And don't forget how the uncle suggested that the skull of "Old Father" the boy saw was not a head hunting trophy of victory but a revered relic. All this makes me think Uncle Antonio and Jerry were both Catholics. The story would be another example of how Poul Anderson treated religious ideas seriously.

And fire as a gift from Old Father, God, or the gods, certainly reminds me of the Prometheus legend. Altho the story has him STEALING fire from the gods (and getting punished for the theft), not a gift from them.

And I remember reading, in another part of ON THE OCEANS OF ETERNITY, how one of the Nantucketers (possibly CEO Cofflin himself) thought the Alban Sun People tribes, resenting the Nantucketer Protectorate, still practiced human sacrifice when not being watched by Islander proconsuls.

And the bits about the Sun Peoples beliefs in Sky Father and the Wolf reminded about the Scandinavian Eddaic myths. Not accidentally on Stirling's part, I'm sure!

Happy Birthday to you and your neighbor when Jan. 1 comes!

Merry Christmas! Sean

S.M. Stirling said...

Seasonal greetings, all the best to you and yours, and looking forward to your interesting posts next year!

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

Many thanks! And the same to you and your family.

I fear I've been somewhat critical of how you handled certain ideas, themes, or incidents in ON THE OCEANS OF ETERNITY. I trust I have not offended you!

Merry Christmas! Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Mr Stirling,
Thank you. I do not know what next year holds. I have been delayed finishing ON THE OCEANS OF ETERNITY by watching ARROW dvds (see the Comics Appreciation blog). Meanwhile, DIES THE FIRE has been ordered.
Paul.

David Birr said...

Best Christmas and New Year wishes to you all.

Ketlan said...

And seasonal greetings from me, too. Hope you all have a good one and a very enjoyable 2017.

Paul Shackley said...

Ketlan comments from hospital but will hopefully return home today.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I will be very eager to know what you think of Stirling's DIES THE FIRE and any Andersonian allusions or echoes you find in the book. I had wondered, because of your interest in the issue of intelligent, self aware computers, if you would try
Drake/Stirling's THE GENERAL series. But the fascination you have for time travel and alternate histories certainly justifies your selection of DIES THE FIRE.

I had hoped to comment again about William Walker, but that may have to wait till I come back from Hawaii. I did start rereading Poul Anderson's SATAN'S WORLD.

I read John Wright's review of the movie titled ROGUE ONE, and it seems interesting enough that I might watch it while in Hawaii. I found myself wishing, YET AGAIN, that some director/producer would take a chance on filming one of Poul Anderson's Terran Empire stories featuring Dominic Flandry.

Merry Christmas! Sean

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID!

Many thanks! And a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours as well.

Aloha! Sean

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Ketlan and Paul!

Ketlan, and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family as well. Get well fast!

Paul, I certainly hope Ketlan is able to check out of the hospital today.

Aloha! Sean

ndrosen said...

Kaor, Sean!

Great minds work in the same directions. When the first STAR WARS film came out, some people were much impressed; I, a fan of written sf, was not, and I remember wishing for a David Falkayn movie or TV series.

Merry Christmas,
Nicholas D. Rosen

Paul Shackley said...

Sean and all,
Ketlan will return home today.
I am experimenting with blogs. A couple of posts have gone on other blogs and have been linked from an addendum to the above post - but page views on those other blogs have not increased significantly! All will be copied to Poul Anderson Appreciation in the New Year.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Nicholas!

Absolute agreement! I would love to see filmed versions of some of the van Rijn and Falkayn stories.

The fact that the original STAR WARS movies are STILL the standards by which SF movies are compared doesn't say anything very good about those standards!

And the Terran Empire is far more convincing than Emperor Palpatine's Empire. That is, instead of being an irredeemably wicked polity, the Terran Empire was a flawed, imperfect, but far from being a monstrous state. No more worse, really, than most Western or Westernized nations.

Merry Christmas! Sean

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Good, regards Ketlan being able to come back home. I hope he gets fully well!

Oops! Sometimes I browsed on some of your other blogs, esp. when you include links to them in the PA blog. I need to leave more comments over there!

Merry Christmas! Sean