Thursday, 21 April 2016

More War

Poul Anderson's fiction emphasizes the human (and alien) cost of war.

"War was always the same: not a neat affair of lines across maps, not a hallooing gallantry, but men who gasped and sweated and bled in bewilderment.
"A slight, dark-faced youth squirmed nearby, trying feebly to pull out the javelin which had pierced his stomach. He was a slinger from Carthage, but the burly Italian peasant who sat next to him, staring without belief at the stump of an arm, paid no attention."
-Poul Anderson, "Delenda Est" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), pp. 173-228 AT p. 223.

"'...a fleet can incinerate a world...'"
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (New York, 2012), pp. 339-606 AT p. 354.

"'I'm no sentimentalist, but I've witnessed wars. I don't relish the idea of sentient beings with their skins burnt off and their eyeballs melted, but not yet able to die.'"
-Poul Anderson, A Stone In Heaven IN Anderson, Flandry's Legacy (New York, 2012), pp. 1-188 AT p. 91.

"Big and shaggy, a Gorrazanian female sat beneath the remnant of a wall. In her four arms she rocked her dead child. In her rough voice she sang it a lullaby that it had always liked."
-Poul Anderson, The Game Of Empire IN Flandry's Legacy, pp. 189-453 AT p. 315.

"KILLED IN ACTION: Lt Cmdr Jan H. Barneveldt, Ens. Donald R. Conway, Ens. James L. Kamekona. ...
"MOURN FOR: Keh't'hiw-a-Suq od Dzuag, Whiccor the Bold, Nowa Rachari's Son. ..."
-Poul Anderson, Fire Time (St Albans, Herts, 1974), p. 174.

And where does Flandry say that every would-be conqueror should contemplate an image of a child at ground zero?

I quote these passages in order to contrast them with an alternative perspective on war that I will quote in a later post.


David Birr said...

Flandry's comment about the child at ground zero was spoken to Aycharaych during a conversation recalled in *A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows*, Chapter IX.
"Besides ... the device every conqueror, yes, every altruistic liberator should be required to wear on his shield ... is a little girl and her kitten, at ground zero." (Ellipses PA's)
In my copy of the book, I highlighted that passage.

Aycharaych replied, "Sentimentality ill becomes either of us. Or compassion."

Paul Shackley said...

Thank you very much. I looked all over for that.