Saturday, 21 September 2019

Three-Time Losers

(There are many images for "three-time loser" so I chose the one that you see.)

O'Hearn carries a gun, and he's a three-time loser already, do you understand what that means? I've seen his gun!"
-copied from here.

I did not understand "three-time loser." It is one of those American expressions. But I google everything in Poul Anderson's texts, although not always to post about.

I had encountered the term before and sought it out. Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns (London, 1986) presents much of its narrative through TV news reports:

"...twelve killed in a mysterious explosion that leveled a bay ridge apartment building...the rescue team sighted Batman on the scene...
"...following her arrest order for the Batman, Commissioner Yindel filed a formal protest with the Media Council against the Joker's appearance on the David Endochrine Show...
"The Council denied her protest...the body of three-time loser Hector Mendez was found in an East Side alley. He had been literally skinned alive...
"The American Hostages Guild has declared a General Strike, in response to treatment of their members in the recent Libyan incident..."
-Book Three, "Hunt The Dark Knight," p. 13.

I found it odd that the news reader specified how many times Mr. Mendez had "lost."

Friday, 20 September 2019

Russian Eggs And More About Films

here come the appetizers. Pay special attention to the characteristically Dutch delicacy, Russian eggs, but don't ask me how they came by that name."
-copied from here.

An unprofound post, serving only to increase our Food Thread by a single entry.

Perhaps there are three kinds of screen adaptations of novels:

nominal (only the name is the same);

authentic (I have cited examples before, see Other Reading and TV Dramatizations);


In the Swedish dramatizations of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, every actor is perfect in his or her role, every character is authentic and the plots are recognizable from the books although many details differ unnecessarily, my point here of course being that I would want to see even better treatment accorded to Poul Anderson's works if they were to be filmed.


With limited time this evening, should I publish the 100th post for this month or rewatch The Girl Who Played With Fire? I am interested in the clever devices by which the makers of the films, having cut incidents from the plots of the novels, find different ways to bridge the resulting gaps. As a hypothetical example, suppose that someone filming Poul Anderson's A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows had cut Flandry's visit to the planet Diomedes, where he learned of Aycharaych's part in the conspiracy, but then introduced an extended conversation between Flandry and Kossara while still in space that yielded the same information?

My answer is that this should not be necessary. I want to see any novel adapted to screen not as a two or even three hour "feature film" but as an extended serial, long enough to leave nothing out.

Now to watch the dvd.

Theory And Practice II

Dominic Flandry, Defender of the Terran Empire, has two sources of theoretical understanding:

when he is Ensign Flandry, his mentor, Max Abrams, gives him a reading list of Machiavelli and others;

much later, still a Captain but a confidante of the Emperor, he has at least one long conversation with Chunderban Desai. (Scroll down.)

Flandry learns that:

the Empire will fall;
its existence can be prolonged;
preparations can begin now for the subsequent rebuilding.

Since an inhabited planet should be economically self-sufficient, not every world will revert to barbarism when the Empire falls. For example, we read of Atheia.

In their different timeline, perhaps the Time Patrol do not need to understand history because their only role is to preserve it.

If these two series were to be connected, they would not fit into a single timeline but a Time Patrolman might find himself in the Technic History timeline, then have to identify the point of divergence - some time in the twenty first century?

Theory And Practice

The statue of Oliver Cromwell outside Parliament holds a Bible and a sword - representing theory and practice?

In Poul Anderson's Time Patrol story, "Ivory, And Apes, And Peacocks," the director of Jerusalem Base, Epsilon Korten, responsible for time travel in the Hebrew lands in the period between the birth of David and the fall of Judah, has to be "...both a man of action and a scholar of profundity." (Time Patrolman, p. 89)

Before his recruitment to the Patrol, Korten's scholarship was displayed by "...his computer analyses of early Semitic texts..." (pp. 89-90) whereas his credentials as a man of action were established by "...his exploits as a spaceman in the Second Asteroid War..." (p. 90) Thus, his scholarship and his naval activity were not related as theory and practice. In fact, they were not related.

In Anderson's Technic History novel, The Day Of Their Return, Chunderban Desai negotiates with the Merseians after the Jihannath crisis, then becomes High Commissioner of the Virgilian System in the aftermath of the McCormac Rebellion. In A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows, we learn that Desai is a scholar of the rise and fall of human civilizations. Thus, historical theory guides diplomatic practice which tests historical theory.

Korten, serving the Time Patrol, deals with time travelers passing through the periods of David and the kingdom of Judah whereas Desai, serving the Terran Empire, deals with space travelers passing through the Virgilian System.

See here for speculation about a Temporal Empire.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

A Robert Kintyre Novel

Poul Anderson's Murder In Black Letter is not a Trygve Yamamura novel but a novel about Robert Kintyre with Yamamura in it. This broadens the perspective of the fictional universe as when:

Nicholas van Rijn gives way to his protege, David Falkayn;

one short story features David's grandson and a later novel features a direct descendant;

John Ridenour, introduced in a Dominic Flandry novel, reappears in a shorter work;

Flandry is succeeded by his daughter;

Manse Everard's protege, Wanda Tamberly, becomes the central character of some later Time Patrol episodes;

Steve Matuchek's daughter, Valeria, is born in Operation Chaos, a teenager in Operation Luna and a young woman who meets Holger Danske from Three Hearts And Three Lions in the Old Phoenix in A Midsummer Tempest;

van Rijn also visits the Old Phoenix -

- a list of character interactions that begins and ends with van Rijn.

One Theme In Two Media In Three Genres

Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series is science fiction and specifically historical science fiction because it describes time travel between historical periods.

Stieg Larsson's three Millennium novels are contemporary thrillers.

Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series is graphic fantasy, thus a third genre in a second medium.

The Time Patrol features the theme of innocence lost.

"Salander had not been an innocent since the age of ten.
"There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility."
-Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played With Fire (London, 2010), CHAPTER 21, pp. 363-364.

Lucifer Morningstar retires as Lord of Hell but can:

"...never again be an angel...
"Innocence, once lost, can never be regained."
-Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Season Of Mists (New York, 1992), p. 83.

Myths, Fictions And More Myths

Mythical figures become fictional characters, e.g., Odin in:

novels by Poul Anderson;
graphic novels by Neil Gaiman;
Marvel comics and films.

The Biblical Devil is differently fictionalized:

as the Adversary in Anderson's Operation Chaos;
as Lucifer Morningstar in Gaiman's The Sandman;
in works by Robert Heinlein, James Blish and others.

Odin masquerades as the Devil in Anderson's The Broken Sword.

Fictional characters become myths when they are universally recognized even by those who have not read the works in which they appeared: Alice in Wonderland etc. I once listed about a hundred.

Poul Anderson's Nicholas van Rijn, although well known to many sf readers, is not universally recognized but might become so if filmed. HG Wells' Time Traveler (myth) inspired Anderson's Time Patrolmen (not myths) and the BBC's Doctor Who (myth). Stieg Larsson's Lizbeth Salander, the "Girl With A Dragon Tattoo," title character of three best-selling novels with two screen adaptations, has mythic potential.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

A Potential Movieverse

Back from a discussion of superheroes. The characters who used to be mainly in comic books are now increasingly on screen, both cinema and TV. Maybe that could become true of Poul Anderson's characters: entire series of van Rijn, Falkayn, Flandry, Everard, Yamamura, Matuchek etc with occasional encounters in a separate series set inside the Old Phoenix? The potential is there. Who knows what will happen in future decades? Assuming that we survive, of course.

Any Other Faith

Poul Anderson, Murder In Black Letter, 9.

His brain querned until he brought it under control. Damn it, Trig was right, there was no reason on God's earth ever to tense any muscle not actually working; and the same held true for the mind. An emotional stew would grind him down and get him to the Bishop no sooner.
It was a hard discipline, though. Kintyre had no urge to embrace Zen Buddhism, or any other faith for that matter; but he would have given much to possess the self-mastery it taught.
-copied from the above link.

You do not need to believe in supernatural entities or in rebirth.
"Faith" can be trust in meditation.
Do not try to control the brain.
Let it quern.
Let go of each thought.
Watch thoughts flow and pass.