Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Happy Endings, Neat Resolutions

Poul Anderson's "Wingless," originally "Wingless on Avalon," exactly twelve pages in length, was written for a boys' magazine. The companion piece, "Rescue on Avalon," exactly fourteen pages in length, was written for a juvenile anthology. Word count and economy of writing were clearly central issues. Neither story features any characters in common with the rest of Anderson's Technic History.

Each covers a major early stage in the colonization of Avalon:

settlement of the islands and preparation for the move to the continent;
early days on the continent - allocation of territories and learning to cope with the violent weather.

Each tells a personal story that encapsulates what the joint colony is about:

Nathaniel Falkayn cannot fly without a gravbelt but can swim and therefore can rescue an Ythrian whose wing is caught in atlantis weed when his boat has been wrecked on a reef - Nat no longer feels inferior;

Jack Birnam, allergic to Ythrians and also resentful that they have been allocated his beloved Andromeda Mountains, must approach and handle Ayan to save his life - but now Ayan welcomes Jack and his guests to roam the Andromedas at any time and Ayan's choth will pay to cure Jack's allergy.

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