Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Nicholas van Rijn, Star of Solar Spice

Nicholas van Rijn is a life long actor. We could almost call him a professional actor since it is part of how he makes a buck. He is continually playing a role:

"Van Rijn's image in the screen rolled eyes piously in the direction of heaven...

"Van Rijn spread his hands in a gesture of horror. 'You speak so crass in this terrible matter? What are you, anyways?'" (Mirkheim, London, 1978, p. 27)

This perpetual dramatic performance is not dishonesty. The reader and the other characters soon realize that it is how he self-expresses and communicates.

He is renowned for his malapropisms. I think that the best is in this passage in Mirkheim. Persuading Chee Lan to embark on a new expedition (or exploration) he refers to it as "'...a daring exploitation...'" (ibid., p. 27)

"With lamentation by him and scorn by her and much enjoyment on both sides, the fee was haggled out for a service which might be dangerous and certainly would not yield a monetary return." (p. 27)

The "enjoyment" makes clear that the "lamentation" is more acting. There is no direct monetary return from, hopefully, preventing a war but, of course, peace is better for business, or at least for the kind of business that van Rijn runs. He sells drinks, not guns.

He is, to quote the title of the first novel in which he had appeared, "The Man Who Counts," the one who knows how to motivate others to do whatever needs to be done. Thus:

"She insisted that Adzel be paid the same...Van Rijn admitted what she had suspected, that Adzel had been recruited by a shameless appeal to his sense of duty." (p. 27)

Sure, but Chee Lan is motivated by money and Adzel by duty so van Rijn knows how to do business and knows what he is doing.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Nice note. I like Old Nick, and I enjoy reading his colorful, malaprop prone rhetoric. Yes, he was the "man who counts" because his great talent was in knowing how to get people to doing what needs to be done (to say nothing of earning a credit or two along the way!).