Saturday, 22 April 2017

In Vino Veritas

I usually don't drink but tonight I shared a bottle of wine so some of this will be Bacchus-inspired.

Here I imagined fitting works of four genres into a chronologically linear sequence. (James Blish's After Such Knowledge is a three-genre Trilogy but not necessarily a linear one.) Of course, Poul Anderson has already fitted works of different genres into the non-linear framework of the multiverse. Hard sf character, Nicholas van Rijn, even visits the fantasy venue of the Old Phoenix. But a multiverse can incorporate anything, even what otherwise would be contradictions.

Seven Ways To Handle A Series Character
(i) Never show us his death. Thus, there is always scope for another sequel: Nicholas van Rijn: David Falkayn; Dominic Flandry; Gratillonius... As John Carter says, "We still live!"

(ii) If he does die, then leave him dead.

(iii) If this is a fantasy, then show us the hereafter or stage a resurrection.

(iv) Write stories set earlier. Doyle did.

(v) Explain that the character was not really dead after all. Doyle did this also. It is the death and resurrection myth in another form.

(vi) Contradict yourself. Harry Lime died in The Third Man the novel/film but is still alive in The Third Man the TV series. There are other examples.

(vii) Explain the contradiction with a multiverse.

Please don't tell me that I've missed anything!


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And as all PA fans know, Nicholas van Rijn was no teetotaler! He was esp. found of quaffing huge mugs of beer. Btw, what kind or brand of beer did he favor?

    One thought I had about your point (v) was that A. Conan Doyle was forced by popular protest from his fans to "resurrect" Sherlock Holmes.

    I don't this counts as telling you something you missed!


    1. Sean,
      I don't think we're told which beer van Rijn preferred?

    2. Van Rijn refers to the first miracle that the Lord worked: another Biblical reference.

    3. Kaor, Paul!

      No, I don't think we are ever told which brand of beer Old Nick favored. Pity!

      I do remember the ostentatiously self pitying fits of agonized anguish thrown by Old Nick when David Falkayn had to tell him there was no more beer left aboard "Muddlin' Through" near the end of SATAN'S WORLD. The idea of Old Nick being forced to drink only plain water for a month was amusing!

      And I should have remembered van Rijn mentioning Our Lord's miracle at Cana. Drat!


  2. Paul and Sean:
    Nick shouted "Heineken's Bier!" as a battle cry in *The Man Who Counts* (Chapter XVIII). If we assume he'd only invoke a brand of which he was fond, then Heineken is at least a CANDIDATE for the position of his favorite. I mean, he didn't seem as if he was using that name as a CURSE.

    1. Kaor, DAVID!

      Hurrah!!! That's exactly what I would like to know about Old Nick's tastes in beer! Maybe Heineken beer is something PA fans should occasionally indulge in!

      And the worst curse Old Nick could use was "BUREAUCRATS"! To be found in SATAN'S WORLD.


    2. Sean:
      Or "Terror and taxes!" as he wheezed after having to expose his face — and nasal passages — to an ammonia-filled atmosphere in "Territory."

    3. Kaor, DAVID!

      Ha! I remember that! Nicholas van Rijn, along with Dominic Flandry, are two of my most favorite series characters created by Poul Anderson.