Tuesday, 2 December 2014


Every novel has an ending - because its text is not infinite. Usually, it also has a resolution. The plot can be resolved by an ending that is either happy or sad. Poul Anderson's A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows has a happy ending insofar as Dominic Flandry has defeated his enemies but a sad ending insofar as his fiancee has been killed in the action.

They would have settled down on her home planet, Dennitza, but, at the end, planning to return to Terra, he says:

"'I have my own people.'"
-Poul Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (New York, 2012), p. 605.

The following novel, A Stone In Heaven, has a happy ending both because Flandry defeats his enemies and because he starts a new relationship:

"They walked on into the autumn."
-Poul Anderson, Flandry's Legacy (New York, 2012), p. 188.

The advantage of a series is that it can tell us what happened after a happy ending. In The Game Of Empire, Miriam Abrams Flandry starts home, across an interstellar distance, as soon as news of civil war is received. At debarkation on Terra, her husband's uniform gets them waved through and they go straight to their apartment in Archopolis for champagne, caviar and serious conversation about the war. It is good to know something of what happened after the autumnal walk. However, the series cannot continue indefinitely. Further, The Game Of Empire ends not with another ending for Flandry but with a new beginning for his daughter - and the next work in the series is set centuries later. This is (fictitious) history.

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