Saturday, 28 January 2017

Unheroic Beginnings

In Poul Anderson's Tales Of The Flying Mountains (New York, 1984), the theme of "Nothing Succeeds Like Failure" is the unheroic origin of gyrogravitics and the theme of "Recruiting Nation" is the unheroic origin of the interstellar expedition. Anderson also wrote heroic fiction, however.

"Recruiting Nation" has two moments of realization.

"The drink leaped from my hand and splashed across my lap." (p. 276)

That is when a remark about programming computers alerts Sanders to a scam on the ship.

"An answer hit me, hard as the original solution had done. I sat straight in my chair and barked a delighted oath." (p. 281)

That is when Sanders realizes how he can make the miscreant confess. Sanders is an Andersonian problem-solving hero.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I would also argue that in "Recruiting Nation," Poul Anderson was indulging in some wryly rueful humor in showing us how unheroic so many of the crew and passengers were. Also, "Recruiting Nation" was a science fictional mystery story: a scam was being perpetrated and Winston Sanders had to somehow both stop it and force the miscreant, for good sound self serving reasons, to confess.