Saturday, 27 September 2014

A Man In A Cell

From his cell in a prison satellite, Fleet Admiral Hugh McCormac sees the planet Llynathawr but would have preferred to see "...rusty, tawny Aeneas..." (Poul Anderson, Young Flandry (New York, 2010), p. 371).

We have met an Aenean, Peter Berg, on Gray/Avalon. We will see something of Aeneas later in The Rebel Worlds and an entire subsequent novel will be set on it. Anderson obviously knows a lot about this colony planet long before we do.

McCormac remembers a conversation with a Wodenite and is rescued by a group that includes a Donarrian - two intelligent quadruped species. Wodenites seem to have an affinity with mankind. McCormac's acquaintance made an insightful comment on our "'...kittle breed...'" (p. 375) and we know of two others who convert to Terrestrial religions. One is FX Axor.

It is when McCormac is rescued that he makes the mistake, as Flandry sees it, of transforming a mutiny into a revolt with himself as the Imperial claimant. In this case, I am persuaded to agree with Flandry.

Because of Flandry's intervention, McCormac, exiled, leads his people to Kirkasant in the Cloud Universe.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I agree, along with you and other fans of Poul Anderson, that Kirkasant was settled by SOME of the ex rebels McCormac led into exile from the Empire. But, I don't think it's necessary to think all the McCormac ex rebels settled that world. What I recall from "Starfog" was that apparently only ONE human crewed ship discovered that planet. And I think one of the characters in that story speculated the ancestors of the Kirkasanters had either split away from, or lost contact, with a larger group of ships.

And your comment about agreeing with Flandry on the sheer folly and even evil of McCormac starting a rebellion reminded of the following text from Chapter XV of THE REBEL WORLDS, where Flandry explained to McCormac why his accession as Emperor would have been so disastrous. It wouldn't have mattered how able McCormac was. When the rebel leader asked why, Flandry explained: "You would have destroyed the principle of legitimacy. The Empire will outlive Josip, its powerful vested interests, its cautious bureaucrats, its size and inertia, will keep him from doing enormous harm. But if you took the throne by force, why shouldn't another discontented admiral do the same in another generation? And another and another, till civil wars rip the Empire to shreds. Till the Merseians come in, and the barbarians. You yourself hired barbarians to fight Terrans, McCormac. No odds whether or not you took precautions, the truth remains you brought them in, and sooner or later we'll get a rebel who doesn't mind conceding them territory. And the Long Night falls."

See as well what Flandry said to Miriam Abrams about the urgent need for any gov't to have legitimacy, be accepted as legitiimate, in Chapter VI of A STONE IN HEAVEN.