Saturday, 21 September 2013

Five Sisters

(This is the 100th post for September. The theory is that I now take a break or draft some notes to be posted early in October. However, practice can diverge from theory.)

Page 143 of Poul Anderson's The Byworlder (London, 1974) has an intriguing misprint:

"...they were coming to know one who fared between the stairs."

Obviously, the alien fares between the stars. However, this is a fortuitous error. I am sure that either Neil Gaiman, author of Neverwhere, featuring London Below, or China Mieville, author of Un Lon Don, would be able to write a juvenile fantasy about "One Who Fared Between The Stairs." That phrase should be able to inspire a novel - how many worlds might be concealed between the stairs from the front hall to the first landing? - although I am not able to write it.

Recently, as I mentioned at the time, we visited York and I meditated in the Minster. I noted references to York in Poul Anderson's novels. Here is another such reference. In The Byworlder, the alien "Sigman" has come to the Solar System in search of artistic inspiration. Terrestrials mistakenly tried to communicate with words instead of with shared art. Having realized their error, they now show him a large and varied selection of works of art, including the Five Sisters windows in York Minster. See attached image.

Sharing beauty from different periods and cultures kind of puts the political rivalries between the US and China into a different perspective. Hopefully, the novel approaches a happy resolution although, at least in his short stories, Anderson sometimes gave us anything but a happy ending.

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