Sunday, 15 May 2016


The timelines linked to the Old Phoenix Inn must include one with a twentieth century Ys where there are skyscrapers, elevators, telephones, cinemas, taxis, tankers, trawlers, nuclear subs and a Cathedral of Taranis. Theologically, there are several possibilities:

a preserved polytheism like Japanese Shinto (which would probably retain the term "Temple");

Wiccan God-Goddess duotheism;

male and female aspects of a pantheist divinity;

a monotheism with Taranis as God, Belisama as His divine daughter or other female figure and Lir as the defeated demon.

(Which Poul Anderson story does refer to a Daughter of God?)

These reflections on a modernized Ys were occasioned by reading about a genuine Ysan skyscraper. The thirteen-story Polaris Tower is in Lowtown on the more prosperous side of Lir Way. Its entrance is flanked by marble fish-tailed lions and engraved with a Ship and a Star. The first five floors are dry-laid stone decorated with images of sea life. The remaining floors of carved wood narrow towards a green bronze cupola with four dragon heads. All floors have glass windows.

The ground floor has:

several shops and workplaces;
a man operating a water-raising, waste-lowering hoist;
steep stairs.

Some residential floors display insignia of families that have lived there for generations. Higher occupants are transient. Each level is self-policed. Rufinus, occupying the single top floor apartment, has:

a landing with a window;
a main chamber;
a bedroom;
a small kitchen;
an atrium/triclinium;
a balcony.

He is surrounded by birds and sometimes looks down on fog.

The tower reminded me of the generation ship and the Nomad ships in Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic History. In another reality, Polaris Tower has a hyperdrive and hydroponics tanks.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

You overlooked one fairly obvious theological possibility regarding an Ys which was not destroyed: the city might have become CHRISTIANIZED. And we might have seen a Cathedral of St. Corentinus THERE, rather than in the real world Quimpo.

Also, I'm not entirely sure if modern style skyscrapers in Ys would have been possible UNLESS the city had greatly expanded onto higher ground above sea level. After all, Ys covers a fairly small amount of land in the novel (all of which is supposed to be below sea level).


Paul Shackley said...

I did think of the Christian possibility afterwards. And maybe a Cathedral of SAINT Taranis if that deity had been incorporated into the Canon.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

SAINT Taranis??? Egads! (Smiles) Possible, I suppose, but it doesn't seem very likely that ex-pagans who rejected Taranis as a god would somehow come to venerate him as a "saint." More likely, I think, would be for a Cathedral of St. Corentinus to be built on the site of Taranis' temple.


Anonymous said...

Kaor, Paul!

"The Longest Voyage" refers to "God's Daughter." It's set on a "lost colony" where the realm of Montalir has become an equivalent to Elizabethan England, and the story is narrated by a boy on a ship commanded by a Francis Drake analogue, circumnavigating the world, which is actually the moon of a Jovian planet.

Best Regards,
Nicholas D. Rosen

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Nicholas!

Why didn't I think of "The Longest Voyage"? I actually did wonder which Poul Anderson story had characters believing in "God's Daughter."

"The Longest Voyage" is not the only Anderson story showing us events happening on planet sized moons of giant gas giants. Wayland, in A CIRCUS OF HELLS comes to mind. And in VIRGIN PLANET, we see the very terrestroid planet Atlantis, a moon of the gas giant Minos.

Regards! Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Congratulations. You win the God's Daughter competition.