Friday, 21 October 2016

How Van Rijn Conducts Business

He is lounging in the solarium of his mansion in Delfinburg. See here.

(i) Ten parsecs away, a king burns Solar plantations so van Rijn authorizes the hiring of mercenaries from Diomedes. We have been there with van Rijn.

(ii) Van Rijn communicates with a nonhuman factor in whistles and quavers and thinks that he might promote him to sector chief. We learn that van Rijn speaks ten to fifteen languages well and twenty to thirty badly. He claims to speak Anglic best! Well, he always makes himself understood so maybe this claim is correct.

(iii) A direct call with Priority Two interrupts business. A scrambled beam leaves a moving spaceship, penetrates atmosphere and locks on to the single station that can unscramble and relay. Adzel and Chee Lan report the disappearance of David Falkayn. Business - and life - have got serious.


Delfinburg is a flotilla of stabilized superbarges with:

many-tiered units;
minerals-extraction plants;
fish-herding submarines;
factories transforming seaweed into condiments;
hanging gardens;
recreation centers;
van Rijn's mansion with an upper-level solarium housing a temporary office containing phones, computers, recorders, data retrievers etc, van Rijn himself in a sarong and lei on a lounger, his chief secretary who is of a warrior caste in a tigerish species, an assistant secretary, loudspeakers emitting Mozart's Eighth Symphony and women fetching beer and fresh Danish sandwiches or lighting a Trichinopoly cigar.
(The Van Rijn Method, pp. 384-385) For other food, see here.

Makassar Strait

Nicholas van Rijn makes a grand entrance at the beginning of Satan's World, Chapter VI (The Van Rijn Method, p. 382). Owning a house, a dock, a ketch and 73% of the industry on the floating town of Delfinburg, he arrives by aircar and suggests to the mayor and the captain that they sail to just the right place at just the right time for him to enter the Micronesia Cup regatta. There is no problem.

There might have been readers who had not encountered van Rijn before - although not now if the novel is being read as part of The Technic Civilization Saga. Readers are to understand that Freeman van Rijn's capacities for enjoyment and for work are equally gargantuan.

We have just read, at the end of Chapter V, about the kidnap of David Falkayn, chief of van Rijn's first trade pioneer crew. Van Rijn does not know about this yet but, when he does, the pleasures will end and all that energy will be focused on rescuing Falkayn, in the process breaking the law, then skilfully outmaneuvering the law enforcers.

The Serendipity Partners

The Beldaniel sisters
Kim Yoon-Kun
Anastasia Herrara
Freeman and Freelady Latimer

Six individuals lacking normal human responses because they have been entirely raised, educated and indoctrinated by aliens. See image.

There is an erroneous comma between "Anastasia" and "Herrara" on p. 341 of David Falkayn: Star Trader.

Also of interest in Lunograd are Gagarin Corridor and Titov Circus. I am old enough to remember the first and second men in space. Robert Heinlein gave us an entire series of stories set in Luna City and elsewhere on the Moon in his Future History. Poul Anderson could also have done this in his Technic History.


I wonder how many kinds of "meditation" there are? Adzel is in a trance and Chee Lan has to make a considerable racket to gain his attention. (David Falkayn: Star Trader, 363.) Would he be in danger of burning to death if a fire alarm sounded? In zazen, "just sitting" meditation, we remain fully alert with eyes open facing a wall. We sit in a quiet room but hear any background noise and are able to respond if necessary.

It would be good to experience every kind of meditation in order to find out which is most helpful. I knew a guy who agonized between zazen and Tibetan visualization before opting for the latter. That was obviously right for him.

A Multi-Species Scenario

Remember the bar in Star Wars? Read about the Hotel Universe, Lunograd, on pp. 359-360 of David Falkayn: Star Trader. Chee Lan's rooms have crisscrossing bars not only for exercise but also for moving around. Did you know that there was an Epopoian Empire in the Technic History? It has an Ambassador to the Solar Commonwealth and he caws through a beak. That is all that we are told about him. Chee Lan knocks him over in a hotel corridor so his only purpose in life is to emphasize to the reader that she is in a hurry.

The Epopoian Empire could be an interstellar realm or it might occupy just one part of a planetary surface? There must be many realms, large and small. In a multi-species scenario, the author can invent a new one just as a minor background detail.


The rogue planet Satan bypassing the blue giant Beta Crucis in a hyperbolic orbit becomes a base for the industrially valuable transformation of elements into heavier isotopes when its cryosphere becomes atmosphere and hydrosphere, coolants for heat waste.

Falkayn spells out why Satan alone is ideal for producing heavier isotopes. This cannot be done:

on inhabited planets because heat and radioactive waste would make them uninhabitable;
on uninhabited planets because heat waste added to solar radiation would vaporize the rivers needed for coolants;
on uninhabited planets with orbiting albedo-raising dust clouds because these would trap home-grown heat;
in newly formed systems because factories would be bombarded by meteors and asteroids;
on airless planets because the necessary heat exchangers are expensive and put engineering limits on the size of a plant;
on Jovoid planets because free hydrogen diffuses through materials and interferes with nuclear reactions;
on ordinary rogue planets because temperatures near absolute zero affect the properties of matter and because liquid water and gaseous atmosphere are necessary coolants.

-copied from here

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Realization About Satan

David Falkayn missed his shot because of a moment of realization on Ivanhoe. See here.

He broke off in mid-sentence, smashed down his fist and surged to his feet when he realized how Adzel and he would be able to rescue Chee Lan from her Merseian kidnappers. See here.

He fell silent and grew tense because of the realization that would lead to the discovery of Mirkheim. See again the second link above.

Here is another. When the Serendipity computer spells out the implications of Satan:

"The idea hit Falkayn in the belly, then soared to his head like champagne bubbles. The money involved wasn't what brought him to his feet shouting. Money was always pleasant to have; but he could get enough for his needs and greeds with less effort. Sheer instinct roused him. He was abruptly a Pleistocene hunter again, on the track of a mammoth.
"'Judas!' he yelled. 'Yes!'" (David Falkayn: Star Trader, p. 358)

Manse Everard bagged a mammoth in the Pleistocene.

There are three indications that the Serendipity partners will now break their own rules and try to acquire Satan:

the computer pauses - Falkayn wonders why but does not suspect anything;
then it strongly advises him, for reasons that cannot be given, not to divulge the truth to anyone else and to spend more time exploring the matter here and now;
when he emerges two hours later, Thea Beldaniel attempts to befriend him and to suggest cooperation.

Serendipity is abandoning its neutrality because, like the computer and Falkayn, it sees a source of great wealth on Satan.

What We Know

A first person plural narrator comes on stage in Chapter III of Satan's World. What had seemed to be an omniscient narrator suddenly becomes an inhabitant of known space acknowledging his own ignorance along with everyone else's:

"The universe is too big. This tiny segment of the fringe of one spiral arm of a single galaxy which we have somewhat explored and too big. In going to thousands of suns that intrigue us, we have passed by literally millions of others. It will take centuries even to visit them, let alone begin to understand them a little. And meanwhile, and forever, beyond the outermost radius of our faring will lie nearly all the suns that exist." (David Falkayn: Star Trader, p. 348)

(i) Certain phraseology recurs rather often. In A Circus Of Hells, Rax says:

"'So many, many stars...a hundred billion in this one lost lonely dust-mote of a galaxy...and we on the edge, remote in a spiral arm where they thin toward emptiness...what do we know, what can we master?'" (Young Flandry, p. 217)

(ii) The trade pioneer crew explores not "...beyond the outermost radius..." but among the millions of stars already passed.

(iii) Regarding "...the outermost radius...," if reality is an infinite plane, then human knowledge is a growing but finite circle somewhere on the plane. As a circle grows, its area, the number of things known, increases but so does its circumference, the point of contact with the unknown. Thus, the more we know, the more we realize how little we know. There is an appropriate verse in a Kurt Vonnegut novel but, by searching the blog, I find that I have quoted it three times already. See here.

Serendipity, Inc.

David Falkayn visits the information brokers, Serendipity, Inc., and is puzzled by the partner he meets:

"Giving a basic sales pitch to a man who'd already bought an God's name, why?" (David Falkayn: Star Trader, pp. 344-345)

Because the reader needs to know about Serendipity, Inc., of course. But Falkayn can't think that. And Poul Anderson can think of a plausible rationalization:

"He believed he could tell why she behaved the way she did, dwelt on elementary details though she must realize he knew most of them already. He'd encountered that pattern elsewhere. It was usually called fanaticism." (p. 347)

And that begins to tell the reader what Serendipity, Inc. is about.