Saturday, 29 November 2014

Details On Nyanza

(This is the 150th post this month so possibly the last until next month.)

I missed certain details on previous readings of "The Game of Glory" by Poul Anderson.

Marker lights were:

"...color-coded for depth so that all Jairnovaunt was one great jewelbox..."
-Poul Anderson, Captain Flandry: Defender Of The Terran Empire (New York, 2010), p. 326.

This is both neat and plausible: not only marker lights above tidally submerged buildings but also color-coding for depth and the visual impression that this would generate.

Air-locked buildings are alternately below or just above the ocean surface. At low tide, Nyanzans swim, guided by buoys, between buildings on rocks. At high tide, they swim down to, up from or between submerged buildings wearing aqualungs. Between cities and countries, they travel in sail boats and also have submarines. Thus, their entire lives are spent in, on, above or under water. We knew that but what does it imply about their deaths? When Dominic Flandry tells John Umbolu that his son, Tom, died in combat on another planet:

"'Drowning is the single decent death,' whispered the Nyanzan. 'My other children, all but Derek, had that much luck.'" (p. 325)

How many Nyanzans die by drowning? How many children has John Umbolu lost? A warrior culture would see death in combat as the best. Since drowning is the single greatest hazard to Nyanzans, they accept it and regard it as "...the single decent death..." We are not told whether they have their equivalent of Fiddler's Green or Aegir's Hall.

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