Friday, 14 July 2017

Some Notes On "Lodestar"

Poul Anderson, "Lodestar" IN:

Anderson, The Earth Book Of Stormgate (New York, 1979), pp. 368-408;

Anderson, David Falkayn: Star Trader (Riverdale, NY, 2009), pp. 631-682.

(i) Supermetals spaceships use "...evasive maneuver[s]...that the League had thought were its own secrets." (Earth Book, p. 391)

This is a clue that someone high in the Polesotechnic League is involved in Supermetals.

(ii) "If [Coya] could please [Hirharouk] by explaining in simple terms..." (p. 396)

This is a too obvious indication that the supernova is about to be explained in simple terms to the reader.

(iii) Giant stars don't have planets and van Rijn remarks:

"'...they is still scratching their heads to account for Betelgeuse.'" (p. 396)

Here, Anderson acknowledges that he gave Betelgeuse a planetary system before it was known that giants do not have planets. In his "A Sun Invisible," a blue giant does have planets, in eccentric orbits, because it captured a swarm of rogues.

(iv) We read a sentence spoken in the Ythrian language, Planha:

"'Iyan wherill-ll cha quellan.'" (p. 399)

(v) A neat van Rijn coinage for detective work: "'...sherlockery.'" (p. 401)

(vi) Van Rijn bellows, "'Wat drommel?'" (pp. 401-402) What does this mean?

(vii) A very good van Rijn malapropism:

"'...always she finds nothing except an empty larder, Old Mother Hubris.'" (p. 402)

(ix) "'Damask rose and shittah tree!'" (p. 405) I googled this phrase and found it in this text. See here.

(x) An Ythrian spaceship must have a hold large enough for the Ythrians to fly around in. It happens to be the only chamber large enough to accomodate the Wodenite, Adzel. Thus, a hold designed for one species is also appropriate for another.

(xi) "The creases deepened which a hundred suns had weathered into Falkayn's countenance." (p. 407)

We have seen Falkayn under half a dozen suns but are rightly reminded that by now he has been under many more.

(xii) Coya addresses her grandfather as, "'Gunung Tuan...'" (p. 407)

(xiii) Falkayn appropriately uses the phrase, "'...the only game in town...'" (p. 407), the title of an early Time Patrol story. See here.

(xiv) The story ends with Coya realizing that her grandfather is "...indeed old." (p. 408) This story and the entire series are about the passage of time.

Correspondence has diverted me from SM Stirling's Emberverse back to Anderson's Technic History but the blog continues and anything that has been left will be returned to.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I have to log off soon, but I have time for a few quick comments.

    Your point (i), I remember reading of how Old Nick himself gave Supermetals advice on how its ships could avoid being tracked.

    Point (iii), AND I was again reminded here of how PA was keeping in mind the original version of "Honorable Enemies," written at a time when astronomers had not known red giants were not likely to have planets. But I'm sure the real galaxy contains very analogous mysteries!

    Point (x), again I'm reminded of how space traveling was more difficult for Ythrians than for humans. But did other sophonts who could fly, like the Diomedeans, have similar problems?

    Point (xiii) was PA perhaps making an "inside allusion" to his own Time Patrol stories? Or was this simply accidental?

    Point (xiv), ha! Old Nick was an aging man? True, but I'm reminded of how he, "blast his sooty heart," refused to be "pathetic" when he again met Grand Duchess Sandra in MIRKHEIM. Old Nick refused to let age change him from being as exuberant and extroverted as we see him in other stories.


  2. It's recently been found that red giant stars -do- have planets, or at least some of them do.

    1. Which shows that sf can be revised, then re-revised.

    2. Dear Mr. Stirling,

      Very good! That VINDICATES the original version of "Honorable Enemies."

      And I will check out the current thinking about red giant stars.