Sunday, 30 September 2012
In The Footsteps Of St Paul
The blog addresses anyone already familiar with Poul Anderson's works and anyone else who might become interested in them. Anderson's complete works should be republished and could be adapted into other media.
I aim to show that this vast and varied body of work is worth reading and rereading. It comprehensively covers past, future and alternative histories in several genres and styles and at lengths varying from (many) single short stories to trilogies, tetralogies and multi-volume series. Anderson applied to his fiction an extensive knowledge of both mythology and science. His works address fundamental issues of life, humanity and society:
like James Blish, though with a much larger output, he is a significant successor to HG Wells, Olaf Stapledon and Robert Heinlein;
like his contemporary, JRR Tolkien, he is a significant successor to the Eddas, sagas and William Morris;
his A Midsummer Tempest, both a sequel to Shakespeare's The Tempest and a companion volume to other Anderson fantasies, conceals blank verse dialogue and even a Shakespearean sonnet in its prose.
This combination of genres and skills is unique as is the coexistence of both quantity and quality in a single body of work. Both Wells and Heinlein declined whereas Anderson innovated and speculated anew at the very end of his career. He was agnostic but respected Christianity so perhaps my initial reference to St Paul's adventures was more relevant than I realised.