Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Winged Cross

The Winged Cross, a tower in Chicago Integrate, is connected to other towers by skyways. Aircars fly between them and cabs or flitters land on the roof where there is a garden and a penthouse belonging to Nicholas van Rijn. Several characters visit him there as also in his palatial Djakarta office and in his mansion on Kilimanjaro.

Interesting background details, for example about a character's residence(s), accumulate over the course of a series, possibly the most famous being certain rooms in Baker St. In Poul Anderson's works, another striking example is the New York apartment of Manson Everard of the Time Patrol.

Later in the future history featuring van Rijn, we learn that van Rijn's protege, David Falkayn, had lived with his family in a house on First Island in the Hesperian Sea on the colony planet Avalon but, because Anderson could not possibly write all the details of such a long fictitious history, we learn about this residence only long after Falkayn's death. An interesting exercise for the reader is to reread the van Rijn stories to uncover whatever details are revealed about the Winged Cross.

Addendum, 20 May 2012: Colorful details about the penthouse on the Winged Cross: several sources reveal that it has a live butler, an expanse of trollcat rug and a wall that can be rendered transparent giving a good view of the spires and towers of Chicago Integrate. Van Rijn reclines in a lounger drinking beer and does not stand to greet guests. His height as well as his width would overwhelm them.


  1. Hi, Paul!

    Besides van Rijn's many residences, your comments reminded me of the Coral Palace, one of the residences of the Terran Emperors. We actually know quite a fair amount about it from descriptions of the palace in ENSIGN FLANDRY, A KNIGHT OF GHOSTS AND SHADOWS, and A STONE IN HEAVEN. ENSIGN shows the palace being used for "in camera" meetings of members of the Policy Board. And KNIGHT mentions how it seems successive Emperors used the Coral Palace to display a wide selection of Earth's past and future art.

    And the "Crystal Moon" seen in WE CLAIM THESE STARS! makes a natural counterpart for the Coral Palace. It was purchased by the Merseians a century before Flandry's time as a residence for ambassadors of the Roidhun. AND as a subtle indication of how Merseia would like to treat the Empire.


  2. Hi, Paul!

    I checked my copy of THE EARTHBOOK OF STORMGATE, and it contains only the revised version of "Margin of Profit." So, I think I'll first reread TRADER TO THE STARS before going on to EARTHBOOK.

    Recently finished Greg Bear's QUANTICO. Sometimes a bit slow but very interesting and disturbing. And I still have that collection of HG Wells SF stories waiting for me! (Smiles)


  3. "Earth Book" is 2 words. I was getting it wrong for a long time!