Friday, 15 July 2016

Starting Book Two

The Merman's Children

I will be away from home and the computer all day tomorrow so there will be a twenty four hour moratorium on blogging.

The Merman's Children, Book Two, Chapters I-V, occupies pp. 71-109, thirty nine pages of text.

Vanimen and his merpeople have stolen a ship called Pretiosissimus Sanguis. He thinks that this name bodes ill but what does it mean? "The Most Precious Blood." (I find this devotional focus on blood shed by impalement distasteful.)

The ship yaws. It is accompanied by Vanimen's loyal orca which only he dares mount. (p. 14) He orders that the sail be reefed. Not all the merpeople can fit in the ship but they swim near. A gale comes from "'...Greenland and the boreal ice beyond.'" (p. 72) Vanimen has seen cold gathering for a few centuries. Was the storm caused by the curse of the watchman whom he killed to steal the ship? Vanimen summons some mermen up the Jacob's ladder.

Like several of Poul Anderson's Prologues, Forewords or opening chapters, Chapter I of World Without Stars (New York, 1966) introduces a setting that will reappear later in the novel and presents statements that will not make sense until later.
-copied from here.

I have copied this sentence from an earlier blog because we have a similar situation in The Merman's Children. Beginning to read Book Two, we still do not know how the setting, characters or events of the Prologue are going to connect with the rest of the novel.

3 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I disagree with your distaste for the name of the ship Vanimen stole. PRETIOSISSIMUS SANGUIS merely reminds Catholics of the infinite value of Our Lord's onc and for all sacrifice on the Cross for our redemption. And, of course, I suspect Poul Anderson used this name to stimulate Vanimen's reflections.

    I find most pictures of mermaids implausibly svelte and attractive. I still can't help wonder, assuming real mer people existed, if they wouldn't be cold, fishy, scaly, and clammy in looks and to touch!

    Sean

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    1. Kaor, Paul!

      Darn and drat! Yet another TYPO due to my tendency to type too hastily. I forgot to add the letter "e" to make "onc" "once."

      Sean

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