Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Boat And The Sword

In Europe, if a man still looked in his twenties when his wife died of old age, then he would be accused of deviltry and attacked by a mob whereas, in China, if a man remained youthful in appearance after many decades, then he would be regarded as a master of the Tao and invited to advise the Emperor! Poul Anderson shows us both of these outcomes in The Boat Of A Million Years. Neither of these deductions is correct but the Chinese inference is less harmful to say the least.

In Anderson's Rogue Sword, a man who has returned to Europe from China has become familiar with the idea that there is more than one way to God. Also, he knows that a Western Christian can accuse his neighbor of Devil-worship, then plant evidence, whereas the Chinese know how to protect a crime scene.

Thus, in two novels, we get the impression that the ancient Chinese civilization was more civilized than Western Christendom. 

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And, in "The Kitten and the Cardinal," we see Hanno (under another name), approaching Cardinal Richelieu and suggesting something similar to what Wang Mang tried to do with Tu Shan. That is, Hanno would openly reveal himself as an immortal and become the Cardinal's adviser (and, after him, the future Louis XIV of France). Cardinal Richelieu persauded Hanno that would be a very bad idea, that the times were not right for immortals to reveal themselves.

As for the diffrences between Europe and China, I suggest that was at least partly because Europe was still, in some ways, recovering from the barbarian invasions following the fall of the Western Empire. Which would include things like supersitions about alleged witches and cruel laws.