Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A Mythological Sandwich

In Poul Anderson's "The Sorrow of Odin the Goth," each chapter is headed by a year date. The last two are 43 and 374. (The texts make clear that these are both AD.)

In the following Time Patrol story, "Star of the Sea," four chapters are headed with large Roman numerals, the rest with smaller Arabic numerals. The first three chapters are I, 1 and 2.

Thus, we read in this order:

43, about time travelers in pre-Polynesian Hawaii;
374, about the Gothic King Ermanaric;
I, about a god and a goddess;
1, about Romans fighting Germanic barbarians;
2, about time travelers in Amsterdam, 1986.

And that gives us a double decker sandwich:

science fiction
historical fiction
historical fiction
science fiction

This cannot have been planned but is an excellent demonstration of Anderson's versatility.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I dunno, as he was thinking about, planning, and drafting "Star of the Sea," Anderson COULD have deliberately arranged the book in the order you noticed. After all, it makes sense for me to think an author would know how he arranged the different parts of his story or novel.