Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Sea

Poul Anderson describes the Skaw on the northern tip of Jutland:

endless sand;
trees few and small;
endless wind;
spouting breakers.

"Northward across the Skagerrak, westward across the North Sea, the eye found no spoor of land, only this wet wilderness. The air was damp, mostly chill, always laden with taste of salt, smells of kelp and fish, never really at rest. Gulls wheeled and mewed in their hundreds."
-Poul Anderson, War Of The Gods (Tor Books, New York, 1999), p. 224.

The observer sees the sea, feels damp and cold, tastes salt, smells seaweed and fish and hears seagulls so here we have a description appealing to all five of the senses.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

One result of observing how Poul Anderson appeals to at least three of the senses in so many parts of his works was to make me notice if other writers did the same thing. Quite often they do not and as a result many of their works simply don't appeal to me, they feel flat, one dimensional, colorless. Good writers can manage to work around this flaw, but they still feel LACKING to me.

In our impatient age many readers don't care about such subtleties or nuances of the kind Poul Anderson works into his stories. They want immediate action and drama, not a careful delineation of character and background. Pity, such an attitude reduces the potential readership of Anderson's books.