Tuesday, 2 December 2014

More Details On Nyanza

Poul Anderson's ocean-covered planet, Nyanza, is the diametric opposite of Frank Herbert's desert planet, Dune. I prefer Nyanza. Whereas Dune appears in six novels by Herbert, many more novels by his successors, one feature film and one TV series, Nyanza is the setting of only a single short story, "The Game of Glory."

This story presents a wealth of information about the fictional Nyanzan environment. Several of the details are presented only once and very briefly but they nevertheless demonstrate that a series of novels could have been set on this single planet.

Tessa Hoorn, Lightmistress of Little Skua in Jairnovaunt, tells Dominic Flandry that:

Jairnovaunters harpoon the kraken, a beast with more bulk than the harpooner's boat;
"'...T'Chaka Kruger farms a great patch of beanweed in the Lesser Sargasso...'" (Captain Flandry, p. 314);
commons and sometimes captains scrape low-tide reefs for shells or dive for sporyx;
there are many professions common to society on any planet;
"'...wandering boats of actors...'" (ibid.) come and go as they please.

A focus of the action of the story is the permanently submerged area of Uhunhu but only one part of one sentence tells us the nature of this place:

"...the weed-grown steeps of Uhunhu rose beneath him, monstrous grey dolmens and menhirs raised by no human hands, sunken a million years ago..." (p. 336)

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