Friday, 18 August 2017

Two Concluding Prayers

Poul Anderson's "Star of the Sea" recounts a potential turning point in European history and a personal turning point for Manson Everard of the Time Patrol whereas Anderson's A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows recounts a political turning point in Technic History and a personal turning point for Dominic Flandry of the Terran Empire. Both works end with a heart-felt prayer.

For "Star of the Sea," see A Prayer and Devotion. In fact, here is the entire prayer, which I do not seem to have quoted in full before:

"Mary, mother of God, mother of sorrows, mother of salvation, be with us now and at the hour of our death.
"Westward we sail, but night overtakes us. Watch over us through the dark and bring us on into day. Grant that this our ship bear the most precious of cargoes, your blessing.
"Pure as yourself, your evenstar shines above the sunset. Guide us by your light. Lay your gentleness on the seas, breathe us forward in our faring and home again to our loves, carry us at last by your prayers into Heaven.
"Ave Stella Maris!"
-Poul Anderson, "Star of the Sea" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (Riverdale, NY, 2006), pp. 467-640 AT IV, pp. 639-640.

We enter imaginatively into such a prayer in a work of fiction even if we cannot also do so while kneeling in a church. And the same is true of the Prayer of Bodin's Return - see here.

Kossara Vymezal In St Clement's Cathedral

(St Clement Macedonian Cathedral.)

The four man honor guard stands in the uniform of the Narodna Voyska, heads lowered, rifles reversed;

candles burn in tall holders with lilies, roses and viyrnatz everywhere between;

Flandry smells flowers and incense as he walks across the stone floor;

a priest chants archaic words behind the iconostasis;

the air is cool and dim;

evening light slants between columns;

the domed ceiling shows Christ Lord of All and the Apostles on gold and blue;

Flandry inwardly addresses Kossara but hears only the priest's voice;

searching his languages for the best farewell, he says, "Sayonara. Since it must be so.'" (A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows, Chapter XVIII, p. 577);

he bows and departs -

- but his next step is military action.

Defections

Poul Anderson shows us the Merseians as implacable enemies of mankind, then shows us why some human beings might defect to their cause:

Erik Magnusson (see here);
the Zacharians;
Dominic Hazeltine -

"'Yes, then, yes, I've been working for Merseia. Not bought, nothing like that, I thought the future was theirs, not this walking corpse of an Empire - Merciful angels, can't you see their way's the hope of mankind too? -'"
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606 AT Chapter XVIII, p. 568.

And a non-human motivation for supporting Merseia is provided by Aycharaych.

In The Dennizan Parliament

Four hundred armed zmayi, claiming to represent the whole Obala, enter the Shkoptsina chamber where the parliament is in joint session. The Chief Justice, presiding in the absence of the arrested Gospodar, has been informed of their approach.

"On gilt mural panels were painted the saints and heroes of Dennitza."
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606 AT Chapter XVII, p. 559.

Lords wear rainbow robes, Folk tunics or gowns, Zmayi leather and metal. A majority of Zmayi vote to hear the demonstrators' leaders who can be trusted to be good mannered and to speak briefly. Surely impossible in a human gathering.

The Chief Justice greets the demonstrators in Serbic, "Zdravo," and Eriau, "Hydhref." (ibid.) Flandry, concealed among the demonstrators, realizes that the only member of Parliament whom he knows is the Zmayi, Kyrwedhin. History plays strange tricks on its main protagonists. Since the session is televized, Ywodh addresses his audience, "'Worthies and world...'" (p. 560) When Kossara emerges from between the demonstrators, human beings moan and zmayi rumble. We must continually remember that two rational species are represented here.

Then, at last, the shooting starts, not from the demonstrators, and Kossara takes her first step towards canonization - martyrdom.

In Zorkagrad Old Town

Poul Anderson describes this scene only once but nevertheless generates a sense of solidity and history:

many-balconied mansions;
a plateau of Royal Hill;
the broad, slate-flagged Constitution Square with benches, flowers and trees;
in the centre of the Square, a large fountain with a granite catchbasin and bronze statues of Toman Obilich and Vladimir in combat;
a view down to Lake Stoyan stretching beyond the horizon;
the sprawling, porticoed marble mass of the Capitol, an argent star on its gilt dome;
the battlements and banners of the Zamok/Castle above sheer rock;
antiquated dignified buildings of grey stone;
flapping capes and gleaming rifles of a militia squad on the Capitol verandah;
aircraft circling overhead.

A climax approaches.

Next week looks like being busier with less time for blogging. SM Stirling's The Given Sacrifice has been ordered.

After Armageddon

The title character of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (London, 2008) wears:

"...a T-shirt with the slogan: ARMAGEDDON WAS YESTERDAY - TODAY WE HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM." (Part 3, Chapter 18, p. 295)

If "Armageddon" means the destruction of all life on Earth, then this slogan summarizes After Doomsday by Poul Anderson. An American interstellar spaceship with an all male crew returns to the Solar System after aliens have sterilized Earth. Now the Americans must find the all female European ship and must also solve the mystery of who killed Earth...

If "Armageddon" means the final supernatural conflict between Heaven and Hell, then the slogan summarizes The Day After Judgment by James Blish. In the previous volume, many demons were released from Hell, an exorcism of a major demon failed and that demon claimed victory in Armageddon. What happens now?

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is Volume I of Larsson's Millennium Trilogy.
The Day After Judgment is the sequel to Black Easter and the two works comprise Volume II of Blish's After Such Knowledge Trilogy.
After Doomsday is an independent sf novel.

Eight volumes to read or reread, if anyone is interested.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

When Chives Sounds Like Jeeves

Chives reports to Flandry:

"'...I gathered impressions of their individual feelings as respects the present imbroglio.'"
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606, AT Chapter XVII, pp. 555-556.

"Imbroglio" is certainly Jeeves language. But when Chives says:

"'I say...you chaps might pitch in a bit, don't you know.'" (p. 562) -

- he sounds more like Bertie Wooster. This frivolous speech struck me as inappropriate immediately after Kossara had been shot. In this fight, we learn that a Shalmuan's tail can be used to strangle. (The other day, on Lancaster canal, I watched a swan twisting its neck around to clean its feathers and was struck by how the neck resembled an arm. On Larry Niven's Pierrson's Puppeteers, two limbs are both arms and necks.)

Chives continues:

"'They sheltered me only after I had convinced them I was a revolutionary from my own society...'" (p. 556)

When Wooster's friend, Bingo Little, becomes engaged to a revolutionary, Jeeves rescues Bingo from such an ill-advised liaison by attending a rally, posing as a revolutionary and denouncing Bingo as an aristocratic spy!

In Zorkagrad

Streets are lined with mostly Terran trees - oak, elm, beech, maple.

A demonstration of Mersians/ychani/zmayi marches in battle formation, armed with knives, tridents, harpoons and guns. Formidable, indeed. Quiet and unexcited, unlike human demonstrators, they carry two banners:

the white star on blue of Yovan Matavuly, the human founder of the Dennitzan colony;

the red ax on gold of Gwyth, the ychan hero who dared the storms and sea beasts of the Black Ocean.

Merseians walk digitigrade. They pass:

private homes and condominiums unprotected by forcefields and vacated during the emergency;
militia squads patrolling to prevent looting;
older, higher, close-packed buildings on narrow uphill streets;
red tile roofs;
stucco walls;
tenements;
offices;
midget factories;
restaurants;
taverns;
amusements;
a bulbous-domed parish church;
a few big stores;
scores of tiny eccentric shops;
detouring groundcars.

A fighter craft passes low. Merseian marchers, unlike their human equivalents, are able to convey information accurately. The word is that the streets are quiet because direct action by Dennitzan citizens has rounded up Terrans and other Imperials into certain buildings in response to the arrest of the Gospodar. The Zamok/Castle/executive centre has denounced the action as illegal and deployed police but has not yet responded with force.

In several novels, including A Knight..., Anderson conveys the sense of "troubled times" extremely effectively.

Meeting In Person

(A sculpture of a religious founder at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.)

Flandry: "God damn it, why does your parliament have to meet in person? You've got holocom systems. Your politicians could send and receive images...and we could've rigged untraceable methods to call them and give them the facts last night.'"
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606 AT Chapter XVII, p. 550.

(Flandry and Kossara risk assassination by attending the Parliament.)

Kossara: "'Hush, darling...You know why. Electronics will do for ornamental relics. The Shkoptsina is alive, it debates and decides real things, the members need intimacies, subtlties, surprises.'" (pp. 550-551)

Recently, an American scientist spoke on climate change in a building at SOAS (see image). He was asked why he had flown to London instead of Skyping. He replied that, if a conference wants him merely to address an audience, then he Skypes but, if there is the possibility of networking and bridge-building, then he flies because it is a long way to walk.

On Avalon And Dennitza

Avalon is an extrasolar planet jointly colonized by human beings and Ythrians. We should not say "Terrans and Ythrians" because the Founder, David Falkayn, was Hermetian and his fellow colonists included children of an Altaian. Dennitza is an extrasolar planet colonized by Serbian Terrans who later welcomed Merseian immigrants.

On Avalon, there is a Parliament of Man and a High Khruath of all the choths. Many human beings join choths and live under Ythrian law and custom. Some Ythrians adopt the human lifestyle of atomic individuals in a global community and, I imagine, are represented in Parliament. A Khruath, i.e., a periodic meeting of all free adults in a given territory, has judicial and limited legislative but no administrative authority. The planetary High Khruath meets every six years or on extraordinary occasions.

On Dennitza, there is a tricameral Parliament, the Shkoptsina, with Houses of the Lords, the Folk and the Zmayi (Merseians) although Mersians also retain their traditional Vachs. A Vach is not ruled by a Head but served by a Hand.

"'The Shkoptsina's no controlled inner-Empire congress. It's about five hundred proud individuals, speaking for as many different proud sections of land or walks of life. It's often turbulent - fights have happened, yes, a few killings - and tomorrow it'll be wild.'"
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominc Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606 AT Chapter XVI, pp. 548-549.

"'Ychani" is the Eriau name for Dennitzan Merseians:

"'Ychani have always been the Peculiar People of Dennitza. The House of the Zmayi has never entirely spoken for them; it's a human invention.'" (p. 550)

Occasionally, hundreds of Merseians have marched into the Chamber and demanded that their leaders be heard. More like a Khruath?

The Obala IV

See The Obala III.

"Clouds and a loud raw wind had blown in across the ocean."
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), Chapter XVI, pp. 339-606 AT p. 539.

Obalans see clouds move over ocean and hear and feel wind.

"Morning along the Obala, the east coast of Rodna, was winterlike, sky the color of lead, sea the colors of iron and gunmetal. But neither sky nor sea was quiet. Beneath the overcast a thin smoky wrack went flying; surf cannonaded and exploded on reefs and beaches." (pp. 539-540)

There is also a fourth sense:

"The air smelled of salt and distance." (p. 540)

Salt, yes. Distance? The air smelled as if it had blown a long way?

Indoors, there are again four senses:

"Inside the home of Ywodh were warmth, sun-imitating fluorescents, musky odor of bodies, growls to drown out the piping at the windows." (ibid.)

We learn that Obalan fishers sometimes net "'...flailfish.'" (p. 541)

Ywodh is Hand of the Vach Anochrin on the Obala;
Kyrwedhin is Hand of the Vach Mannoch on the Obala and a member of the House of the Zmayi;
Korvash is Hand of the Vach Rueth on Merseia;
Lazar Ristich is voivode of Kom Kutchi and a member of the House of the Lords;
Bodin Miyatovich is Gospodar of Dennitza.

A wealth of details, both geographical and political.

A Theological Issue

I think that Christian premises entail universalist conclusions. If an omnipotent creator creates from nothing my character and environment, then He creates all the interactions between that character and that environment and these interactions include my actions. Thus, He can predetermine my actions so that those actions eventually lead to my acceptance of salvation. This is not to argue that God's foreknowledge (more accurately, His transtemporal knowledge) predetermines my actions. It is to argue that His creation of my character and environment determines my actions. A child can have free will in relation to his parents if they let him do what he wants but he cannot have free will in relation to his omnipotent creator Who causes him to want what he wants and Who could have caused him to want, and therefore to do, something else. 
-copied from here.

The above paragraph is part of my philosophical response to a theological issue that arises periodically when discussing works of fantasy that assume the existence of the Biblical creator and related supernatural entities.

The Obala III

Rereading Poul Anderson's A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows, I want to post about the Obala but find already on the blog:

Dennitza;
The Obala;
The Obala II;
Khyrwedhin;
The Kazan.

Dennitza is a human-colonized extrasolar planet with a Merseian minority;
Dennitzan Merseians mainly inhabit the Obala, the east coast of the Rodna continent;
Khywedhin is moot-lord of the steadcaptains of the Obala;
the Elena River flows from the Kazan to the Obala.

I will carefully reread A Knight..., Chapter XVI, in search of any information not already summarized in the above posts.

The Sword Of Time

Has anyone used the phrase, "The Sword of Time," as a title? It seems obvious to connect the much-used words, "Sword" and "Time." This name would be appropriate for Rudi Mackenzie's Sword which, when stuck into a stone near Lost Lake in SM Stirling's Lord Of Mountains, cuts through Time, enabling the High King to meet some of his ancestors and his unborn daughter.

"...of Time" is a significant phrase in book titles, e.g.:

“Once more, he had hit the bottom of the telescope of time…” 28

This evocative phrase, “…the telescope of time…," could have become a title like Blish’s The Triumph Of Time and The Quincunx Of Time. Remembering an experience from decades ago can resemble observing a spatially remote event through the wrong end of a telescope. Lewis applied precisely this image to time:

“ ‘Time is the very lens through which ye see – small and clear, as a man sees through the wrong end of a telescope - …Freedom…,’ ” 29
free will and eternal choice. Lewis looks through the telescope of “Time” and enters an imaginatively described Christian Eternity. Martels falls through his “telescope of time” and enters an intellectually systematied mystical immortality.
-copied from here.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Log Cabin

Flandry and Kossara hide out in her father's log cabin in the Northrim:

icy clearness;
frost on windows;
autumn colors on wooded hills;
clangorous flocks of southbound yegyupka;
the sweet cry of a savage vilya;
air made pungent by firebush spontaneously combusting to ripen and disperse its seeds;
walnuts by a waterfall;
after dinner, brandly-laced coffee on a rug by the fire;
colored flames lighting the room;
leaping shadows;
conversations about their shared future...

This will be their happiest time together.

("...vilya..." recalls "vilja.")

Sun Hair And A Promise

In 13, 210 B.C.:

"So had Sun Hair promised them... 'A new world.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), Part Four, p. 250.

In "...the beginning...Not long after the Ice withdrew...":

"'This land lies empty for you...'
"'...you are always welcome on our runs, Sun Hair.'"
-SM Stirling, Lord Of Mountains (New York, 2013), Chapter Sixteen, p. 342.

I have not yet unravelled the temporal complexities in these chapters of Lord Of Mountains but I did spot "Sun Hair" (not the same person) in two timelines.

In The Kazan

Apparently, "Kazan" means "Cauldron."
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606 AT p. 499.

The Kazan is a large astrobleme on the continent of Rodna on the planet, Dennitza. Lake Stoyna and the Dennitzan capital, Zorkagrad, are at the centre of the Kazan which is filled with woods, farms and rivers. The Dubina Dolyina province takes its name from a gorge cut through the Kazan ringwall by the Lubisha River.

Danilo Vymezal is voivode of Dubina Dolyina. The Vymezal estate is on high ground, overlooking farm, forest and river. There is an outer gate, then a driveway through gardens and parks. The tile-roofed, half-timbered, brick manor has a rear court surrounded by servants' cottages, garages, sheds, stables, mews, workshops, bakery, brewery, armory, recreation hall, school and chapel. Dennitzans have lived thus for centuries but now are under threat.

The voivode receives Flandry in the darkly wainscoted, heavily furnished, third storey Gray Chamber, decorated with rugs and drapes, which has a doubly thick door for confidentiality.

Time Gone Awry

Wanda Tamberly says:

"'What they showed me, though, the records -'
"He nodded. 'Consequences of time gone awry. Bad.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), Part Four, 1990, p. 253.

The Time Patrol has records of events that did not happen in the current timeline. Which such alternative records do we know of?

(i) In the current timeline, Charles Whitcomb resigned from the Patrol after his first case, to live with his wife Mary in Victorian London, yet the Patrol has records of Whitcomb remaining a bachelor and eventually being killed on active duty. Whatever cases he would have worked on in that alternative career must have been worked on by other agents in the current timeline.

(ii) There was a timeline in which Patrolman Keith Denison played the role of Cyrus the Great for sixteen years.

(iii) There was a timeline in which Carthage won the Second Punic War.

(iv) At this stage of Wanda's career, the Patrol would not have been able to inform her of either the alpha or the beta timeline with their alternative versions of medieval history. The alpha timeline resulted from a quantum fluctuation and the beta timeline resulted from the Patrol's first attempt to prevent the alpha timeline. Patrol members had not yet experienced either of these divergent timelines.

(v) Maybe the Patrol has records of timelines generated by the Nine, the discoverers of time travel, or by other time criminals "before" the Danellians appeared and set up the Patrol to police the time lanes?

Symmetrical Questions

There is a symmetry to two questions asked in Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series:

Should Hilter's birth be prevented?
Should the death in the War of a Time Patrolman's fiancee be prevented?

To a time traveller, these are essentially the same question although they involve preventing a birth and a death, respectively. Is it ever right to change the past - assuming that it can be changed? A changeable past is one premise of the Time Patrol series.

The first time Charles Whitcomb raises the second question, he formulates it in terms of killing Hitler:

"'I'm not allowed to go back and shoot that ruddy bastard Hitler in his cradle. I'm supposed to let him grow up as he did, and start the war, and kill my girl.'"
-Poul Anderson, "Time Patrol" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (Riverdale, Ny, 2006), pp. 1-53 AT 2, p. 16.

However, when Whitcomb does try to save Mary, he attempts only to prevent her from visiting a neighbour's house that is to be bombed. There are two issues here:

on the one hand, the Patrol forbids any time traveller to change the course of history, e.g., by killing Hitler in infancy;

on the other hand, it would not change history if one Mary Nelson had lived in London from 1850 to 1900 whereas another Mary Nelson went missing and was thought to have been killed by a bomb near a neighbour's house in 1944.

Nevertheless, the second situation can exist only if, behind the scenes, Whitcomb and Everard have rescued Mary from 1944 and transported her to 1850 and the Patrol forbids any such meddling because of the wider effects that it could have. However, there may be exceptions in such individual cases whereas there cannot possibly be an exception to the prohibition of killing Hitler. Because of variable reality, the Patrol can have records of events that did not happen and can also encounter events that have not been recorded. In this case, the Patrol has two contradictory records:

Charles and Mary Whitcomb lived in Victorian London;
Mary died in 1944 and Charles, remaining a bachelor, was killed on active duty with the Patrol.

These two sets of events could have been left in existence. There would have been two versions of Charles and Mary in a single timeline. However, a Danellian explains that:

"...as even the smallest paradox is a dangerous weakness in the space-time fabric, it had to be rectified by eliminating one or the other fact from ever having existed." (6, p. 52)

Because of Everard's intervention:

Charles and Mary Whitcomb lived in Victorian London;
Mary is presumed killed by a bomb near the home of the Enderby family who, however, were at Mary's house at the time and were not killed (this is a change);
Charles Whitcomb disappeared in 1947, presumed drowned (another change).

The Danellians find these small changes preferable to the original discrepancy.

Here is a related question. When Carl Farness' Gothic leman has died in childbirth because of an aneurysm of the cerebral artery, Carl asks:

"'Suppose we went downtime of her pregnancy...We could bring her here [to 2319], fix that artery, blank her memories of the whole trip, and return her to - live out a healthy life.'"
-"The Sorrow of Odin the Goth" IN Time Patrol, pp. 333-465 AT p. 376.

He is reminded that the Patrol does not change but preserves the past. But there are other complications. By preventing Jorith's death, Carl would have prevented himself from going to 2319 for help... Either there would now be two Carls, one who had helped to fix Jorith's artery and another who had not needed to do so - unless the Carl who attended to birth now no longer existed because the timeline had been changed by the fixing of the artery -, or, if Carl was prevented from setting off to 2319 to get help, then he would also be prevented from arriving in 2319 to get help. This gets too complicated.

Continuing Consequences Of World War II In Life And Fiction

(i) Every British town and village has a War Memorial. A man who returned to England after decades in Australia learnt that his best friend during the War had not survived the War by seeing his name listed on such a memorial.

(ii) When a missing girl is being sought:

"Patrols were sent out to make a second sweep of the particularly rugged terrain, as well as an area known as 'the fortress' - a now-abandoned bunker system that was built during the Second World War."
-Stieg Larsson, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (London, 2008), Chapter 8, p. 136.

(iii) Visitors to Ostend can look around inside the former German defences.

(iv) An instructor at the Time Patrol Academy tells cadets how easy it would be to prevent the birth of Adolf Hitler...

(v) Over a thousand years later, Dominic Flandry cites the example of countries changing sides after World War II. See Changing Sides.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

"Some Have Greatness Thrust Upon Them" II

Here are those quotes. (See here.)

"'Things have a way of recurring. People do.
"'Therefore it is wise to study those who have been part of great events. They may again, whether or not our extant records show anything of it.'
"'But I was just borne along,' [Wanda] stammered. 'Manse - Agent Everard, he was the one who counted.'
"'I want to make sure of that,' Guion said."
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), Part Three, p. 136.

"...whether or not our extant records show anything of it..." Guion has access to the records of Wanda's life from birth to death. Nevertheless, in a variable timeline, he must prepare for the possibility that she will be involved in great events unmentioned in those records.

(In Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, Destiny knows what was, is and will be, yet Delirium claims to know things that even he does not know.)

Shortly afterwards, Wanda thinks:

"She wasn't important, she decided. Impossible. This wasn't humility - she expected to do a topflight job in her coming line of work - but common sense." (ibid.)

Wanda is not important but certain events are.

Guion tells Everard:

"'Sometimes, however, individuals have a significance far beyond their ostensible worth. Not that you or I count for nothing in ourselves. But as an illustration of the general principle, take, oh, Alfred Dreyfus. He was a competent and conscientious officer, an asset to France. But it was because of what happened to him that great events came about.'" (Part Five, p. 260)

Elwin Ransom tells CS Lewis:

"'Don't imagine I've been selected to go to Perelandra because I'm anyone in particular. One never can see, or not till long afterwards, why any one was selected for any job. And when one does, it is usually some reason that leaves no room for vanity. Certainly, it is never for what the man himself would have regarded as his chief qualifications. I rather fancy I am being sent because those two blackguards who kidnapped me and took me to Malacandra did something which they never intended; namely, gave a human being a chance to learn that language.'"
-CS Lewis, Perelandra IN Lewis, The Cosmic Trilogy (London, 1990), pp. 145-348 AT Chapter 2, pp. 163-164.

So I bow to the combined wisdom of Poul Anderson, Neil Gaiman and CS Lewis, also of Guion, Delerium and Ransom.

There are two issues here but they interconnect:

Are events more important than persons?
Is there something other than known events?

By The Lyubisha River

On Dennitza, the Kazan is a large astrobleme. During glaciation, a colter of ice pierced the Kazan ringwall, then the melt-begotten Lyubisha River formed a canyon. Flandry watches the broad, brown river which is:

"...quiet except where it chuckled around a boulder or a sandbar near its banks."
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606 AT p. 524.

(In Anderson's Time Patrol series, time is compared to a river with changeable features like sandbars that can divert its course.)

"...ocherous palisades..." are "...maned with forest." (ibid.) Leaves are bluish-green or plum-coloured.

"...trees...grew taller than the taiga granted." (ibid.)

My points are, first, that Anderson shows us an alien landscape where, e.g., we must not assume that leaves are Terretrial green and, secondly, that his vocabulary is rich even when describing features that might be common to Earth and Dennitza.

A Conference Dinner

SM Stirling, Lord Of Mountains (New York, 2013), Chapter Fourteen, is a political argument and a meal so let's focus on the meal, starting with the pre-dinner cocktail hour:

an ice-cold mixture of whiskey, sweetened cream, coffee, anisette and absinthe;
potted shrimp, spiced goose liver or smoked salmon and capers on crackers;
chicken sausage soup simmered with wine, broth, garlic, tomatoes, spinach and tortellini;
hot beaten biscuits and butter;
dry white wine;
horseradish-cruted roast venison;
seasoned grilled potatoes;
late asparagus;
a winter salad of pickled vegetables;
warm breads;
red Pinot Noir;
pastries;
glazed fruit-tarts;
ice-cream with hazlenuts;
liqueurs;
coffee.

"Some Have Greatness Thrust Upon Them"

When glancing at a very few of the ways that World War II has been reflected in fiction (see here), we cited an amazing list of texts:

the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson;
the Worldwar series by Harry Turtledove;
Three Hearts And Three Lions and the Time Patrol series by Poul Anderson;
The War In The Air and The Shape Of Things To Come by HG Wells;
the Draka History by SM Stirling;
the Ransom Trilogy by CS Lewis.

Here is another question. What determines which individuals play pivotal roles in history? Are some individuals great or is greatness thrust upon them? There are relevant passages in the Time Patrol and Ransom which I will quote as soon as I can get back home and consult my copies of The Shield Of Time and The Cosmic Trilogy!

A Man And His Rep II

See A Man And His Rep.

Here is another example of a man and his reputation parting company. When Kossara Vymezal's captors discuss "'...this, uh, Captain Flandry...,'" obviously never having heard of him before, Kossara thinks:

"Hoy? Chives said Flandry is famous. - No. How many light-years, how many millions of minds can fame cover before it spreads vanishingly thin?"
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606 AT p. 473.

This puts Flandry in exactly the same position as Falkayn in Mirkheim. Anderson deduces one implication of a number of civilizations interacting on an interstellar scale. Nowadays, some politicians and celebrities are known all over one planet but who could possibly be known throughout hundreds of cubic light years?

Edwin Cairncross hopes to be remembered through the lifetime of the universe! See here.

Credit Where Credit Is Due Department
The book cover copied here accurately depicts a scene in the novel:

Flandry flies into the cave in combat armour;
the Merseian, Glydh, grabs Kossara;
with a blaster needle beam, Flandry shoots Glydh in the head;
steam, brain matter, blood and bone spurt across Kossara.

Can you conceive of the mentality of a human being who willingly serves the Roidhunate? I reread this passage hoping to find some interesting information about Glydh's assistant, Mohammad Snell, but failed. Anderson gives us the minimal biographical data that we have come to expect:

The Merseian
Personal name: Glydh.
Vach: Rueth.
Nickname: Far-Farer.
Rank: afal.
Corps: Naval Intelligence.

Glydh's Assistant
Human name: Mohammad Snell.
Eriau name: Kluwych.
Place of birth: somewhere in the Roidhunate.

Neither survives his encounter with Flandry.

Changing Sides

"'...you've long been in the forefront of resistance to the Roidhunate. However, such attitudes can change overnight. History's abulge with examples. For instance, England's rebellious North American colonies calling on the French they fought less than two decades before; or America a couple of centuries later, allied first with the Russians against the Germans, then turning straight around and -' He stopped. 'This doesn't mean anything to you, does it?'"
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606 AT p. 481.

A Dennitzan does not know Terrestrial history of over a thousand years previously. We have recently discussed enemies becoming allies. See combox here, also here.

Ian Fleming highlighted post-War security problems:

"'...you know what M is, independent old devil. He's never been happy about NATO Security. Why, right in the SHAPE Intelligence Division there are not only a couple of Frenchmen and an Italian, but the Head of their Counter Intelligence and Security section is a German!'
"Bond whistled."
-Ian Fleming, "From A View To A Kill" IN Fleming, For Your Eyes Only (London, 1964), pp. 7-37 AT p. 18.

M and Bond had fought the Germans and Italians and some of the French had collaborated. We will continue to see amazing turnarounds.

War In Art And Life II

What did I miss about World War II here?

HG Wells predicted World Wars I and II.

Instead of WW I, II and III, SM Stirling's Draka have the Great War, the Eurasian War and the Final War.

CS Lewis' Perelandra was written and published during World War II:

"'...the two sides, as you call them, have begun to appear much more clearly, much less mixed, here on Earth, in our own human affairs - to show in something a little more like their true colours.'
"'I see that all right.'"
-CS Lewis, Perelandra IN Lewis, The Cosmic Trilogy (London, 1990), pp. 145-348 AT p. 162.

Thus, Lewis, like Anderson in Three Hearts And Three Lions, links the War to a vaster conflict.

War In Art And Life

Art reflects life in different ways.

Art
In Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, some members of the Vanger family were Nazis during the War.

In Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series, aliens invaded Earth during World War II.

In Poul Anderson's Three Hearts And Three Lions:

"'Those two worlds - and many more, for all I know - are in some way the same. The same fight was being waged, here the Nazis and there the Middle World; but, in both cases, Chaos against Law, something old and wild and blind against man and the works of man.'"
-Poul Anderson, Three Hearts and Three Lions (London, 1977), NOTE, p. 155.

In Anderson's "Time Patrol," a time traveller prevents his fiancee's death in a London air raid.

Life
World War II casts its shadow over succeeding decades.
Nazis march now.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Knights Templar

Poul Anderson contributed a Time Patrol story to an anthology of original stories about the Knights Templar whereas Stieg Larsson's Mikael Blomkvist wrote a book about financial journalism called The Knights Templar.

Thus:

on Earth Real, Tales Of The Knights Templar, the Time Patrol series and Larsson's Millennium Trilogy exist as works of fiction;

on Earth Millennium, Tales... and the Time Patrol exist as fiction and Blomkvist's The Knights Templar exists as non-fiction;

on Earth Time Patrol, Tales Of The Knights Templar, maybe with a non-Time Patrol story by Anderson, and the Millennium Trilogy exist as fiction.

Relationships between parallel Earths are not always straightforward.

"'Besides war, [the Templars] went in for banking, and ended up mainly doing that. The outfit got hog-rich.'"
-Poul Anderson, "Death And The Knight" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (Riverdale, NY, 2006), pp. 741-765 AT p. 748.

So maybe The Knights Templar is an appropriate title for a book about financial journalism?

Another Planet

How often does Poul Anderson inform or remind us that each planet is an entire world? There must be a relevant quote somewhere on the blog. The other side of this coin is to point out that places on Earth differ so much that they are like different planets. References to other planets or to other parts of the universe can add a slightly sfnal dimension to contemporary fiction, e.g., in Anderson's own Trygve Yamamura novels. See here.

"High banks of snow presented a picturesque contrast to Stockholm. [Hedestad] seemed almost like another planet, yet he was only a little more than three hours from Sergels Torg in downtown Stockholm."
-Stieg Larsson, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (London, 2008), Chapter 4, pp. 68-69.

Uppsala III

"After Uppsala came the string of small industrial towns along the Norrland coast. Hedestad [fictional] was one of the smaller ones, a little more than an hour north of Gavle."
-Stieg Larsson, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (London, 2008), Chapter 4, p. 68.

Uppsala is, like Norrland, another name to conjure with. The former was famous for its Temple, which is described by Poul Anderson. (See the "Uppsala" link in the previous sentence.) Anderson takes us to Uppsala in the days when the gods were worshipped in the Temple whereas Larsson's Mikael Blomkvist passes through Uppsala by train en route to Hedestad. Heroic fantasies and contemporary novels share geography and historical associations.

Norrland And Norrheim

"Born up in Norrland..."
-Stieg Larsson, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (London, 2008), Chapter 1, p. 20.

The names of Norrland, referred to once before (see here), and of Norrheim have much the same meaning. (See Heim.) Norrland is the northernmost part of Sweden whereas Norrheim is a Norsified ally of the High Kingdom of Montival in SM Stirling's Emberverse.

Both names evoke a remote and cold realm, an appropriate setting for fantasies based on Norse mythology, although Norrland is in fact a real geographical location with modern industries and investment companies. A contemporary novel evokes the ancient past with its use of settings and place names.

Mixed Reading

Currently, I am:

reading SM Stirling's Emberverse series;
rereading parts of Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry series;
starting yet again to reread Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy.

While rereading, it is possible to notice many details as if for the first time. All three authors present a wealth of fictional and descriptive details that are probably missed on a first reading, e.g., a summer evening or a Dennitzan forest. I have read and posted about Stirling's The Peshawar Lancers and Conquistador twice and Anderson's The People Of The Wind maybe three times.

The Millennium Trilogy previously generated several comparisons and contrasts with Anderson's works (see here). This might happen again although blogging is unpredictable.

A Dennitzan Forest

On Dennitza, Dominic Flandry and Kossara Vymezal land in a forest. Poul Anderson must show that this forest is not interchangeable with a Terrestrial equivalent. There is:

mahovina turf;
woodland "duff," the two relevant meanings of "duff" being plant litter and detritus;
the local equivalent of evergreens - low, gnarly trees, their branches plumed blue-black;
shrubbery but no real underbrush;
open sod.

Anderson sometimes describes a local equivalent of grass, e.g., on Aeneas, Avalon, Talwin and here.

Truth In The News?

How can we believe anything that we hear in the news? In the fictional scenario of A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows, Poul Anderson shows us how everything could be faked.

Why do Terran and Dennizan Intelligence reports about Merseian movements differ?
Are any Merseian movements a mere show for Dennitzan scouts?
Kossara's enslavement on Terra was not reported there but this inflammatory news did get quickly back to Dennitza. (She is the Gospodar's niece.)
Could barbarians in Sector Spica have been encouraged to attack in order to draw Imperial attention there? (Emperor Hans is less accesible while he leads a fleet against them.)
Are Merseian undercover men high in the Gospodar's councils keeping important information away from him?
Instead of directly approaching the Gospodar, should Flandry and Kossara covertly visit her parents and send a domestic servant with a secret message for the Gospodar while Chives proceeds openly to Zorkagrad with false papers forged by Flandry?

The mind boggles.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Very Strange And Weird

"Mackenzies weren't actually evil, the way the Church Universal and Triumphant was, even the most stiff-necked of Catholics admitted that. But...
"They are very, very strange and weird. I'm glad I was born among sensible and civil folk with normal customs and in the bosom of Holy Church."
-SM Stirling, Lord Of Mountains (New York, 2013), Chapter Eleven, p. 235.

Individual responses to a religious upbringing vary. A friend at University divided Catholics into intense, intelligent or indifferent. (He said "pious," not "intense," but I wanted three "i"s.) When I worked as a Careers Advisor, some pupils in a Catholic school told me that they wanted to leave the school as soon as possible because they wanted to get away from the religion whereas a pupil in a non-Catholic school told me that he wanted to attend Cardinal Newman College because it was Catholic. It was my job to help each of these pupils to do what he wanted despite the views of a teacher in the Catholic school.

There are two questions here. Are Catholic doctrines true? I do not believe so. Could changed social conditions bring it about that the population of a previously secular society came to be born "in the bosom of Holy Church"? Yes. SM Stirling shows us such conditions in his Emberverse series. Poul Anderson shows us the population of a colonized planet preserving "Orthochristianity" in A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows. Such social conditions are entirely independent of the truth or falsity of the beliefs in question. In fact, Stirling's Norman Arminger set out to reproduce feudalism, including its religion, for purposes of personal power, not of faith.

Medieval And Emberverse Terminology

SM Stirling, Lord Of Mountains (New York, 2013).

Bjarni Ironrede, King in Norrheim, picks his fighters from all the Norrheimer tribes, including "...his own Bjornings, the Hrossings..." etc. (Chapter Twelve, p. 258)

"Bjarni" is a diminutive of "Bjorn" (see here) so "Bjorning" means the tribe descended from Bjorn/Bjarni? (I think.)

"...destriers rising in caracole..." (Chapter Eleven, p. 250)

"' A l'outrance - charge!'" (ibid.)

"...armor of steel and cuir-bolli..." (Chapter Twelve, p. 253)

"'...thirty or forty conroi of lancers...'" (Chapter Twelve, p. 264)

"...her menie..." (Chapter Twelve, p. 265) (I can't find it on google.)

We have had "destriers" and "menie" before but I did not know what any of the others meant.

Through The Western Gate

This post addresses a dark theme in works by:

SM Stirling;
John Milton;
James Blish -

- but ends on a positive note with Poul Anderson.

"...I wouldn't have liked to be in his skin when he had to make accounting to the Guardians of the Western Gate."
-SM Stirling, Lord Of Mountains (New York, 2013), Chapter Seven, p. 136.

(Anyone who has gone through the "Western Gate" has left his "skin" behind.)

"So many to Heaven or Hell or Purgatory today..." (Chapter Eleven, p. 233)

Is there a judgmental hereafter? If there is, then are we judged by an external deity or by the inner self? The latter process can begin now. How many will be surprised and shocked in such a hereafter? Bigots believe that everyone who disagrees with them will be damned. This happens in Milton's Paradise Lost, Book Three.

James Blish's black magician, Theron Ware, says of his antagonist, the white magician, Father Domenico:

"'He's not significantly holier than us...I know something he doesn't know, too. He's in for a surprise in the next world.'"
-James Blish, Black Easter IN Blish, After Such Knowledge (London, 1991), pp. 319-425 AT Three Sleeps, 7, p. 354.

Later, Ware tells Domenico:

"'I can tell you of my own certain knowledge that every single pillar saint went straight to Hell...
"'...there is no such thing as white magic. It is all black, black, black as the ace of spades, and you have imperilled your immortal soul by practising it...'"
-James Blish, The Day After Judgement IN After Such Knowledge, pp. 427-522 AT The Harrowing of Heaven, 11, p. 511.

Can Poul Anderson tells us anything cheerful after all that? One of his novels concludes:

"'I've a notion He creates nothing in vain. That Satan himself, after Armageddon and what follows have shown him the error of his ways, may repent and be shriven. That on the Last Day, not only will our dead be resurrected, but all that ever was, ever lived, to the glory of God.'
"Father Tomislav was quiet for a space before he said, 'Now don't you suppose that's necessarily the truth. I'm sure of divine love, but the rest of what I spoke was only my mind rambling. It's not in the canon. It could be heresy.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Merman's Children (London, 1981), Epilogue, p. 258.

Father Tomislav combines optimism with humility. Amen.

Wanderers And A Wayfarer

Wodan is the Wanderer.

"They called him Ingolf the Wanderer, and it was said no man since the Change had crossed from the eastern sea to the western so many times."
-SM Stirling, Lord Of Mountains (New York, 2013), Chapter Eleven, p. 239.

Adzel, an interstellar explorer, is later known as Adzel the Wayfarer.

Wodan travels between the Nine Worlds in the Tree.
Ingolf travels back and forth across North America.
Adzel travels between planetary systems.

Thus:

two kinds of universe, Eddaic and scientific;
within the latter, cosmically different scales - 2,680 miles as against millions of millions of miles.

Some Details In A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows

Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606.

Dominic Flandry thinks:

"Yes, God, Whom the believers say made all triumphant beauty." (Chapter XII, p. 496)

A grammatical error: "Whom" is the subject of "made" and therefore should not be in the accusative case. Anderson must have thought that "Whom" was the object of "say" whereas "say" is followed not by the pronoun alone but by the entire phrase, "Who...made all triumphant beauty."

We always appreciate descriptions of meals, however brief. In Chapter XII, pp. 493-494, Chives serves breakfast to Flandry and Kossara:

shining orange juice;
fragrant coffee;
an omelet;
fresh-baked bread.

Does it come as a surprise when, in Chapter XVII, p. 565, Chives' suspects Flandry's son of treason? Flandry had begun to suspect sixty pages earlier:

"'...could I resist hallooing off -'
"It jarred through him: - off into whatever trap was set by a person who knew me?
...No! This is fantastic! Forget it!" (Chapter XII, p. 505)

This is an Andersonian moment of realization but, unusually, one that Flandry initially suppresses.

On the colonized planet, Dennitza, the Gospodar (head of state) has, since the days of the Founders, addressed Shkoptsina (Parliament) from a "...wooden lectern, carved with vines and leaves beneath outward-sweeping yelen horns..." (Chapter XIII, p. 514) The current Gospodar wears "...the grey tunic and red cloak of a militia officer, knife and pistol on hips..." (ibid.)

Weapons in Parliament - troubled times.

"His words boomed across crowded tiers in the great stone hall, seemed almost to make the stained-glass windows shiver." (ibid.)

Carved wood, stone hall, stained glass - Anderson shows us how people would build traditions even on an extrasolar colony planet. See also Hermes and Avalon.

Literary References

Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606.

I am carefully rereading a text, this time trying to understand every obscure or esoteric reference.

"'...remind me and I'll tell you about Jenkin's Ear. Nations on the brink don't need a large push to send them toppling." (Chapter XI, p. 485)

"'Trohdwyr would like a toast to his manes, wouldn't he?'" (Chapter XII, p. 489)

"'Hindsight is always keen, isn't it, while foresight stays myopic, astigmatic, strabismic, and drunk.'" (Chapter XI, p. 482)

"He drew on a cigaret, rolled acridity over his tongue and streamed it out his nostrils, as if this mordant would give reality a fast hold on him." (Chapter XII, p. 503)

(Apparently, "cigaret" is dated. I was not familiar with "mordant" as a noun.)

Two gas giants in the Zorian System are called "Svarog" and "Perun." (Chapter XIII, p. 512)

"'I was the Fabian this time, not you.'
"'The what? ...Never mind.'" (Chapter XIV, p. 523)

Describing War

Writers of war fiction describe human devastation that some might like to read about but that no one would want to experience. In SM Stirling, Lord Of Mountains (New York, 2013), Chapter Nine, cast steel globes whistle through the air:

"Where they struck men and horses splashed, and the metal globes went bounding and tumbling along the ground for scores of yards, breaking legs like matchsticks." (p. 187)

We appreciate Stirling's descriptive skills if not also the kind of event described here. Another example:

"Close up [the napalm] would be clinging fire spattering in all directions, horses with their manes on fire, burning gobbets taking off a man's face or running down under his armor while he rolled and screamed and beat at himself with blackened hands." (p. 189)

Poul Anderson made clear that war was horrific but spared us this kind of intense detail, I think. See Experience Of War and Real War.

Two points of linguistic interest in this chapter:

a new coinage, "...bossmandoms...," (p. 191);
"...switch-hitters..." (p. 193) apparently means bisexuals.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Eclectic Theology

In SM Stirling, Lord Of Mountains (New York, 2013), Chapter Ten, Frederick Thurston utters the most eclectic invocation that I have ever read. If I may rewrite his words as a list, Fred says:

"'May the -

God,
Goddess,
spirit,
philosophical consolation
or lucky rabbit's foot -

- of your choice be with you.'" (p. 195)

Five options there. And Fred means, if you can think of a sixth option, go for it. Fred himself remembers:

"...a bridge sparkling with color..." (p. 203) -

- and prays to Odin.

Emberverse Theology
A benign consciousness that originated in an earlier universe now guides the biological and spiritual evolution of the current universe.
It can manifest to human beings as any deity or rabbit's foot that they have ever imagined.
Therefore, when Fred prays to Odin, he really addresses It.

Possible? Scary.

Quick Learners

There are two kinds of learning: experiential/practical and formal/didactic. Manse Everard makes this distinction here.

Most basically, we learn to speak a language both because we are genetically programmed to do so and because we are surrounded from birth by people speaking to and about us. We are supposed to pick up a lot of knowledge about social interactions and how the world works in the same sort of way but not all of us are equally good at this!

Nicholas van Rijn, David Falkayn and Dominic Flandry learn quickly and soon are able to operate effectively in the world as they find it.

Flandry
"'And I thought I was your first,' she said.
"'Why, Persis!' he grinned.
"'I felt so - and every minute this evening you knew exactly what you were doing.'"
-Poul Anderson, Ensign Flandry IN Anderson, Young Flandry (Riverdale, NY, 2010), pp. 1-192 AT Chapter Nine, p. 87.

"[Abrams'] aide, Flandry, looked alert; but he was young and very junior." (Chapter Ten, p. 94)

"[Flandry] grew conscious, then, of what power meant, how it worked. You kept the initiative. The other fellow's instinct was to obey, unless he was trained in self-mastery. But you dared not slack off the pressure for a second. Hauksberg slumped in his seat and gave no trouble." (Chapter Thirteen, p. 136)

"'Commander,' [Brechdan Ironrede] said, 'your young man makes me proud to be a sentient creature. What might our united races not accomplish? Hunt well.'" (Chapter Fourteen, p. 145)

"...[Kossara] sensed alertness beneath [Flandry's] relaxed manner."
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606 AT Chapter IV, p. 392.

Alert and learning throughout life.

How The Terran Empire Might Go Wrong

See The Imperial Gardener and The Widow Of Georgios by Sean M. Brooks.

"'Does Molitor imagine we'll never get another Olaf or Josip on the throne?' the Gospodar rumbled. 'A clown or a cancer...and, once more, Policy Board, Admiralty, civil service bypassed, or tyrannized, or corrupted. If we rely on the Navy for our whole defense, what defense will we have against future foolishness or tyranny? Let the foolishness go too far, and we'll have no defense at all.'
"'Doesn't he speak about preventing any more civil wars?' Kossara ventured.
"Bodin spat an oath. 'How much of a unified command is possible, in practical fact, on an interstellar scale? Every fleet admiral is a potential warlord. Shall we keep nothing to stand against him?' He stopped. His fist thudded on a rail."
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606 AT p. 408.

They nearly do have another Olaf on the throne because, later, Olaf Magnusson tries to overthrow Gerhart! But we gather that there was an Emperor Olaf - and that he was a clown?

A bad Emperor can bypass, tyrannize or corrupt the Policy Board, the Admiralty and the civil service; a fleet admiral can become a warlord. The Pax is precarious.

Survival And Adaptation

Skilfully, SM Stirling makes his Emberversers remind themselves and thus also us of family relationships and tribal alliances, which have become complicated since the Change.This series, like Poul Anderson's Maurai History, The Winter Of The World and Twilight World and like Stirling's own The Peshawar Lancers, is a tribute to the human capacity to survive and adapt in the face of adversity.

Emberversers must respond not only to material impoverishment but also to new direct interventions by beings like Odin, the Triple Goddess and the Virgin Mary. Many believe that we already inhabit such a world of divine interventions but I differentiate, with the flaming sword of Manjushri, between imagination (mythology and fantasy) and intellect (philosophy and science). I want to know more both about the gods in the Emberverse and about the one transcendent reality that is here and now - although the latter requires a third faculty: intuition (meditation and wisdom).

A Few More Details

Flandry's FTL spaceship, the Hooligan, leaves Earth on primary drive, with its internal grav-field compensating for the acceleration, then, at a safe distance from the Sun, goes into secondary drive. Thus, "secondary" means hyperdrive.

Kit wears:

"...a bracelet of Old Martian silver..."
-Poul Anderson, "Hunters of the Sky Cave" IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 149-301 AT Chapter VIII, p. 205.

We know that the Mars of the Technic History has been colonized by extrasolar aliens and would like to know more about "Old Martian."

I seem to have missed Chives' "'...spiced meatballs...'" in previous food lists. (A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Sir Dominic Flandry, pp. 339-606 AT Chapter IV, p. 398)

A slave dealer's medic runs "'...complete cytological analyses.'" (Chapter V, p. 405) Flandry refers to "'Coprolite-brained characters...'" (ibid.) I needed to google both words.

Reading Poul Anderson is an endless education.

Collecting Holmes, Bond And Flandry

Although Sherlock Holmes has been collected in a single bulky volume, a three volume collection would be appropriate:

Vol I, the original series, ending at Reichenbach;
Vol II, two novels written later but set earlier;
Vol III, the Return, incorporating all three later collections.

James Bond has a very similar structure:

Vol I, five novels from the introduction of Bond and SMERSH to Bond's apparent death at the hands of SMERSH;
Vol II, two intermediate novels and nine short stories;
Vol III: five novels about the struggle againsst Blofeld and its aftermath.

Dominic Flandry also needs three volumes:

Vol I, Young Flandry, the three novel prequel;
Vol II, Captain Flandry, the original series;
Vol III, Admiral Flandry, the concluding three novels.

Flandry, of course, is part of Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization which requires a further four omnibus collections.

Flandry And Kit

Dominic Flandry tells Catherine Kittredge:

"'...I've no illusions about my own class either, or my own way of life. You frontier people are the healthy ones. You'll be around - most of you - long after the Empire is a fireside legend.'"
-Poul Anderson, "Hunters of the Sky Cave" IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 149-301 AT Chapter VIII, p. 206.

Flandry strengthens certain planets in the hope that they will survive the Empire and some do. See here. I like the idea of the Empire as a fireside legend. That suggests a later sub-series in which raconteurs round a fire retell the Flandry stories, including "Hunters of the Sky Cave," in legendary form.

We have got into finding passages about Flandry's good eating and drinking so here is another. When Flandry announces captain's dinner:

"'Very good, sir,' said Chives. 'I took it upon myself to bring along some live Maine lobster. And I trust the Liebfraumilch '51 will be satisfactory?'" (Chapter VIII, p. 204)

Flandry explains to Kit that Shalmuans have more sensitive palates and cannot go wrong on vintages. (It should make a difference that Chives is extraterrestrial and is not just Jeeves with green skin.)

Regarding spiritual/philosophical questions, a friend recommended Mooji.

Friday, 11 August 2017

High Living In The Future

Chives will serve a tournedos that will require a red wine and he recommends the Chateau Falkayn '35, not Flandry's suggestion of a Beaujolais. (Chives also suggests that drinking and smoking cease until the meal is ready.) Thus, here is a further indirect reference back to the days of the Polesotechnic League. (See reference to "Ansa," here.)

David Falkayn -

saviour of Merseia;
saviour of Technic civilization;
discoverer of Mirkheim;
founder of Supermetals;
Founder of Avalon -

- must be the greatest hero of the League.

The Mayor Palatine of Britain owns Catalina, has built a lodge on its heights and has lent the lodge to Dominic Flandry who, sitting on a terrace of the lodge, sees and senses a summer evening:

shadowy land;
a bay;
the vast, calm Pacific;
a cool breeze;
scents of rose and Buddha's cup;
sky ranging from amethyst to silver-blue;
stars twinkling forth;
sunset glow on contrails;
quiet -

- "Traffic was never routed near the retreats of noblemen."
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606 AT Chapter I, p. 355.

(Life is good for noblemen.)

I thought that Buddha's cup was a name given to an extraterrestrial plant. Was I mistaken or has this plant, like Livewell, been imported to Earth?