Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Purposes Of The Flandry Series

According to Poul Anderson's Introduction to his novel, The Game Of Empire, the Dominic Flandry series had three purposes:

to entertain;
to convey the endless variety and wonder of the universe;
to provoke thought about history and politics.

(Flandry's Legacy, New York, 2012, p. 191)

The purpose of this blog is convey that the series succeeds admirably in all three of its purposes. In fact, Anderson's precise wording for his third purpose is " provoke a little thought..." In this, he over-succeeds.

The purpose of this "...coda to the biography of Dominic Flandry..." (ibid.) is to show a new generation taking over the saga, although Anderson did not expect to write a series about this new generation comprising Flandry's daughter and her companions. There was "...too much else to write about."

The Introduction goes on to present some interesting scientific background details about "...Daedalus, the world without a horizon..." (p. 216). Finally, the book is a homage to Rudyard Kipling. Anderson hopes that the first and the final sentence:

"She sat on the tower of St Barbara, kicking her heels from the parapet, and looked across immensity." (p. 195)

"He crossed his hands on his forelegs and smiled, as a being may who is winning salvation for himself and his beloved." (p. 453)

- will raise a few smiles. But, because I am very ignorant of Kipling, I hope that some reader of this blog will be able to elucidate these references?


Anonymous said...

The first and last sentences of The Game of Empire play off the first and last sentences of Kipling's Kim, which you may enjoy reading.

Paul Shackley said...

Thank you, Nicholas.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul and Nicholas!

While I was not as big a fan of Rudyard Kipling as was Poul Anderson, I did read with GREAT pleasure much of his work: such as THE JUNGLE BOOKS, STALKY & CO., KIM, and many of Kipling's short stories. If you want to know what Poul Anderson thought of Kipling, look up the essay he wrote called "Rudyard Kipling," in ALL ONE UNIVERSE (1996).

And this is the first and last sentences of KIM: "He sat, in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zam-Zammah on her brick platform opposite the old Ajaib-Gher--the Wonder House, as the natives called the Lahore Museum." Last sentence of KIM: "He crossed his hands on his lap and smiled, as a man may who has won Salvation for himself and his beloved."

So, yes, THE GAME OF EMPIRE should also be understood, in part, as a homage to Kipling.