Monday, 29 December 2014

Margin Of Profit

"Margin of Profit":

was an early sf short story by Poul Anderson (Astounding Science Fiction, September 1956);

introduced Nicholas van Rijn;

had to be rewritten to be incorporated into Anderson's major future history series, the History of Technic Civilization;

was quoted but not included in the first van Rijn collection, Trader To The Stars;

thus, for some readers, acquired the special status of a defining van Rijn story that we had not read yet;

was included in The Earth Book Of Stormgate and, of course, in the definitive The Technic Civilization Saga.

What's not to like?

Personal flashback to September 1956:

I was seven and living in (a different part of) the North West of England;
in that very month, September, I started to attend a boarding school near Glasgow in Scotland;
I read comic strip science fiction and superheroes;
Dan Dare fought bald, green, imperialistic Treens just as Dominic Flandry, whom I did not know yet, fought bald, green, tailed, imperialistic, green Merseians;
that first term in Scotland was when I realized that years were numbered and that we would very soon be in 1957;
I did not suspect that, in late December 2014, I would be discussing the works of an American prose science fiction writer on a planetary computer network.

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