Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Man Who Counts, Chapter III

On Diomedes, human beings must be immunized against hay fever, asthma and hives and the local food would quickly poison them.

Wace thinks that the naked van Rijn resembles that extinct ape, a gorilla. In "Hiding Place," when van Rijn sees the organisms that come to be called "gorilloids," he comments:

"'We had one like them on Earth once.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Van Rijn Method (New York, 2009), p. 581.

Thus, Anderson remembers between stories that gorillas are extinct in this future history.

For once, van Rijn offers candles not to St Dismas but to "'St Nicholas...patron of wanderers...'" (p. 354). To make a comparison with paganism, Woden is the Wanderer. In "Margin of Profit," Captain Torres calls St Nicholas "'...patron of travelers...'" (p. 159). Not St Christopher?

In The Man Who Counts, van Rijn does complain to St Christopher when he sees that the Diomedeans propose to pull the rescued human beings through the water with a rope. Without knowing a word of any Diomedean language, van Rijn persuades a Diomedean not only to rescue the human rations but also to airlift him at least from the sinking vessel.

DD Harriman, the title character of Heinlein's The Man Who Sold the Moon, gets mankind to the Moon and out into the Solar System whereas van Rijn, the title character of Trader To The Stars and The Man Who Counts, operates on an interstellar scale.

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