Sunday, 17 July 2016


After killing a kraken and treacherous human beings and receiving help from a selkie, the merfolk and their human companions return home to a shunned and haunted strand where there are stories of nicors and elves:

"...Herning dropped anchor, one chilly eventide. Eastward the Kattegat glimmered away till it lost itself in dusk. Westward the shore lay darkling. A last smear of sunset cast red across the water, broken by reeds, hummocks, gnarly willows. The land breeze smelled of mire and damp. A bittern boomed, a lapwing shrieked, an owl hooted, lonesome noises." (The Merman's Children, p. 104)

Familiar ingredients:

eastern and western skies
sunset red
light on water
wild vegetation
two smells from inland
three bird sounds, differently described
lonesomeness not counteracted but emphasized by the sounds

Poul Anderson could have just told us that the characters unloaded their treasure but first, of course, he sets the scene, appealing to three senses as he does so.

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