Wednesday, 23 April 2014

NESFA Collections, Vol 1, continued

I have read so many Poul Anderson short stories in diverse collections that I forget titles. Thus, more of the contents of NESFA Collected Short Works Of Poul Anderson Vol 1 are familiar than I had expected:

"Tomorrow's Children" and "Logic" are the first two parts of Twilight World;
"Journeys End," misprinted here as "Journey's End," is that story about telepaths;
"Call Me Joe," "Wildcat" and "Time Patrol" are, of course, familiar.

"The Helping Hand" is old (Astounding, 1950) but was new to me. Despite its space operatic setting, the story ends not with victory in a space battle but with the look of loss in an old man's eyes.

"The Immortal Game" (F&SF, '54), which I have only just begun to read, soon reveals itself to be an account of a chess game with conscious pieces and, unlike "The White King's War," which has robot chess pieces on a giant board, this story might present the moves in a game of chess?

I will continue to work my way through the collection. I would have preferred the short verses to be in one section at the end. It is difficult to see how many prose works we have to read. This poem is not bad:

Slowly the moon
Slides aloft.
Keen is its edge,
Cutting the dark.
Stars and frost,
As still as the dead,
Warn of another
Waning year.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Yes, I remember "The Helping Hand." Old, and perhaps a bit crude in some ways, but also very penetrating and shrewd in other ways. Poul Anderson was examining how "help" can sometimes be counterproductive or come with a high cost. And that it may sometimes be better to refuse help.