Sunday, 31 May 2015


I usually complain about overlap between the contents of collections and have done so on this blog. However, a retrospective volume, like Poul Anderson's Going For Infinity (New York, 2002), with stories, auctorial comments and autobiographical notes spanning a career, makes sense. Anderson even remarks that:

"This book would be incomplete without a van Rijn yarn." (p. 153)

Of course we have already read all the van Rin yarns but we also reread them and might feel like rereading "The Master Key" while looking though ...Infinity.

Earlier in the volume, Anderson wrote:

"'Gypsy' is the earliest that seems worth including here. I could do it better nowadays." (p. 66)

He did rewrite several early stories to good effect but it was neither necessary nor possible to do this with all of them. In any case:

"...this little tale is a landmark for me, my first attempt to celebrate the wonders of our universe." (ibid.)

And that is exactly what this story does. Space travelers who have lost their way and wandered between planetary systems before settling on a terrestroid planet remember the wandering and decide to regain it, thus becoming the first of the Nomads. We read of some of their earlier adventures only as reminiscences:

"We had ridden centauroids who conversed with us as they went to the aerial city of their winged enemies -" (p. 77)

- an appropriate story to include in a retrospective volume.

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