Tuesday, 12 July 2016


When I start to reread a work by Poul Anderson in order to blog about it, I really do not know what is going to come up. We can closely examine textual minutiae, like particular words or phrases, or can instead use the entire text as a launch pad for a discussion of anything from anthropology to zoomorphism. Right now, I am overwhelmed by everything that is coming out of The Demon Of Scattery. For a start, dig this sunset or sunrise photo of Hog Island (p. 147) on the horizon.

"Dreaming" and sailors seeing a sea serpent are two strong parallels between Poul Anderson and Neil Gaiman. But they are just parallels. In particular, the two authors make different fictional uses of dreams. Nevertheless, the sheer number of the parallels is quite entertaining.

Mananaan tells Skafloc:

"'Kindred of yours were caught in it, and at the end even I played a part.'" (p. 9)

I have not located Skafloc's kindred yet but Brigit, the former nun, thinks:

"...it is not [Skafloc's] Thor who rules this storm. Mananaan Mac Lir is rising now in wrath." (p. 141)

Thus, Mananaan narrates Brigit thinking about Mananaan. Read on.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I'm a bit puzzled by Mananaan telling Skafloc "kindred" of his were caught up in some of trouble. Which kindred? Where?

And I'm skeptical of Mananaan being able to raise any storms because he is described elsewhere (THE BROKEN SWORD?) as being only half a "god" (and I don't believe any pagans were real).


S.M. Stirling said...

Skafloc is the son of a Viking chief who moved to England (before Skafloc was taken by the Alfar as a changeling). Presumably that Viking chief was a descendant of the Viking raider and the Irish ex-nun who accompanied him back to the North.

I don't believe anyone can raise storms, but I'm fine with it for the purposes of the story. You have to suspend disbelief -- the conditional hypothetical.

Paul Shackley said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

I agree, I have no trouble with using the conditional hypothetical for the purpose of telling a story. I recall an amusing discussing by non human Motie "mediators" in Niven/Pournelle's THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE about that idea. The Moties were having trouble grasping the idea of FICTIONS, non literally true stories not meant to deceive.