Sunday, 14 December 2014

Swordsman Of Lost Terra

I have read "Swordsman of Lost Terra" to its conclusion. Our hero implausibly escapes, evades pursuit and survives in the Dark Lands, then fights his way into a palace and into a particular room in the palace, where he spontaneously and unaccountably learns how to play the god pipe, a sonic weapon that destroys the Dark Landers and their realm: a victorious conclusion, of course, but the reader always needs to understand how any particular victory has been achieved.

One side issue was of some local interest to a Lancastrian reader. The narrative refers to certain animals as "tyrs" and "hests." These turn out to be bulls and horses, respectively. "Tyr" is the Norse god of war. Is he associated with bulls? - which are used for warfare in this story. However, the local interest came from the other unfamiliar word, "hest." When I googled it, here, my google list included Hest Bank, a local place name, in fact the name of a place well within the boundaries of the City of Lancaster, so it seems that I have learned the meaning of the name of a place that I have walked and driven through even though it had never occurred to me to wonder how it came by such a name. (And I recognize the name of one of the commentators.)

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

As I've said before, in other notes, the stories Poul Anderson wrote for PLANET STORIES were pub. at a time when he was a young writer still, in many ways, learning how to write or find his natural voice as a writer. Therefore, it would be unfair to compare these stories with his later, maturer, more polished works. The PS pieces are very much how a young, still somewhat inexperienced writer might work. Also, "science fantasy" stories need to be read with a some what different mindset than we would with hard SF.