Thursday, 14 July 2016

More Details Of The Descent

The Merman's Children.

I summarized the merfolks' descent here. Anderson's text states that, when their bodies filled with water:

"...subtle humors decomposed the fluid element itself to get the stuff which sustains fish, fowl, flesh and fire alike..." (p. 53)

I summarized that as "subtle humors decompose water to extract oxygen." But, of course, the term "oxygen" was not known yet. What I also missed was the alliteration of fluid, fish, fowl, flesh and fire. Oxygen sustains the three kinds of life as well as fire. And, since we are dealing with "Faerie" beings, might there be a hint here of salamanders - living fires?

The undersea cold is described as "...lamprey chill." (ibid.) The decrease of light has three stages:

light " new leaves and old amber...";
murky light;

Each Lirian "lanthorn" is:

a hollowed crystal globe;
in a shuttered carved bone box;
on one side, plated with varnished silver;
on the other, shaped into a lens;
filled with living seafire;
with a meshed hole to let in water and food for the animalcules.


David Birr said...

"...lamprey chill." As in gnawing into one's flesh and sucking the blood or, in this case, warmth out. Yet again, Anderson used words in brilliant ways most writers don't even imagine.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul and David!

Paul: and wee a salamander in OPERATION CHAOS, where the Adversary used an apprentice magician to let a salamander get out of control of an experienced wizard.

David: I agree! It was precisely Anderson's colorful skill with words which came, along with many other reasons, to make me prefer his books over those of Asimov and Heinlein.