Sunday, 6 July 2014

Lodestar VI

Near the end of Poul Anderson's "Lodestar," a Wodenite enters an Ythrian spaceship where only the flying hold is big enough to accommodate him comfortably. This is another logical conclusion to be drawn from the natures of two disparate species: Ythrians are winged; Wodenites are large.

It is appropriate that an Ythrian, Captain Hirharouk, addresses van Rijn about the problems in the Polesotechnic League. Speaking of the beings involved in the Supermetals Company, he says:

"'They seek to find that which will let their peoples fly free...In the end, God the Hunter strikes every being and everything which beings have made. Upon your way of life I see His shadow. Let the new come to birth in peace.'"
-Poul Anderson, "Lodestar" IN Anderson, David Falkayn: Star Trader (New York, 2010), pp. 633-680 AT pp. 679-680.

(But it doesn't.) In Hirharouk's short speech, the Ythrian and League strands of the History merge.

Supermetals spacecraft cannot be followed to the source of their products because they use "...every evasive maneuver in the book and a few that the League had thought were its own secrets." (p. 660)

When we learn who is behind Supermetals, we know how they got hold of League secrets.

In The Earth Book Of Stormgate, "Lodestar" immediately precedes the concluding two stories, "Wingless" and "Rescue on Avalon," about joint human-Ythrian colonization of Avalon. In the History of Technic civilization, only one work, Mirkheim, is set between "Lodestar" and "Wingless." For this reason, Hloch's introduction to "Wingless" in the Earth Book begins:

"The rest would appear to be everyone's knowledge: how at last, inevitably, the secret of Mirkheim's existence was ripped asunder; how the contest for its possession brought on the Babur War; how this struggle turned out to be the first civil war in the Commonwealth and gave the Polesotechnic League a mortal wound."
-Poul Anderson, The Rise Of The Terran Empire (New York, 2011), p. 293.

And it was after the Babur War that van Rijn and Falkayn transferred from Earth to Hermes records that eventually enabled Hloch and Arinnian to write "Lodestar." This reads far more like real complex history than the short extracts from the Encyclopedia Galactica that precede the chapters of the Foundation Trilogy.

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