Monday, 27 April 2015

"Rain Roared"

Poul Anderson, The Boat Of A Million Years (London, 1991).

"Rain roared." (p. 315)

This blog has sometimes considered Poul Anderson's descriptions of seasons and the weather. "Rain roared" is:

the opening sentence of Chapter XV;
two words - noun and verb, subject and predicate;
two syllables;
alliteration, with not two but three "r"'s;
a simple scene setter;

We soon read that this rain, with thunder and lightning, falls on "...the new Empire State Building..." (p. 315). Thus, we are in New York and in a particular period. The image shows rain in New York. We have been with Manson Everard when he saw lightning from his New York apartment but that was in the timeline guarded by the Time Patrol, not in this timeline affected by the Eight Immortals.

I have mentioned the wrench when starting each new chapter in Boat: new period, new place, often new characters. In this chapter, we must adjust to reading about Mama-Lo Laurace Macandal and Cindy, without yet knowing whether either of them is an already familiar character with a new name. It is good to ease into the chapter by first considering just two words and the weather. For me right now, Mama-Lo will have to wait until tomorrow or maybe the day after since tomorrow should be morning Latin preparation, afternoon a family outing and evening meditation group. Onward, Earthlings!

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And you already know of the intense interest I took in the "contemporary" sections of THE BOAT OF A MILLION YEARS (along with THE DEVIL'S GAME, set in approximately 1980). In terms of plot and character development, and background description, my view is Anderson was as skillful in writing fictions set in contemporary times as he was with stories set in the remote past or future.

True, BRAIN WAVE and parts of the first Time Patrol were also set in what was the then contemporary early 1950s when first published. However, so much has changed in so many ways since then that the early 1950s now seem very strange to us.