Tuesday, 30 August 2016

A Generation

Three Hearts And Three Lions (London, 1977) is copyright Poul Anderson 1961. In the introductory Note, a first person narrator tells us:

"Holger and I first met more than twenty years ago. It was in another generation - another age." (p. 7)

I was told at school that a generation was about twenty years, just long enough for someone to be born, grow up and start to have children. We assume that the narrator speaks from the year 1961 unless the text states otherwise. Thus, in round figures, Holger and he might have met about 1940. In fact, he goes on to tell us that it was:

"...in the fall of that remote year 1938." (p. 7)

Remote, indeed. Fiction reflects life, including the passage of time. Even in 1961, 1938 was "remote" because of all that had happened since then. Apart from the War, the narrator says of "...the bright lads I am training these days..." (ibid.) that:

"...they have grown up with the incredible. Look at any scientific journal, any newspaper, out of any window, and ask yourself if outlandishness has not become the ordinary way of the world." (ibid.)

From the perspective of 2016 - the science fiction future -, we can only say, "All the more so."

In 1938, Holger Carlsen was six feet four, broad-shouldered, yellow-haired and blue-eyed, thus a classic Nordic hero, at least in appearance. "Carlsen," originally meaning "son of Carl," has of course changed from a patronymic to a surname but, in any case, is the name of the Danish family that had adopted Holger because he was found on a doorstep or at least in a courtyard in "'...Elsinore, Hamlet's home town.'" (p. 8) This reference to Hamlet links Three Hearts... to Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest in which Holger cameos and Hamlet was real.

References to relativity, quantum mechanics and sorcery link Three Hearts... to Anderson's Operation... volumes and Holger will meet Valeria Matuchek from those books in A Midsummer Tempest.



Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And our times should have been even more "outlandish" by now! We should have had O'Neill habitat colonies/bases on the Moon, and at least a base on Mars by now!!!

At least we are seeing the beginnings of the practical uses of genetic engineering, cloning, and nanotechnology. That is something!


Paul Shackley said...

And all the computer technology.
Apparently, SETI is investigating a possible extra-solar signal.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I remember that! I read about that "anomalous" signal at the Centauri Dreams website. If it is REPEATED, then some will start thinking it might be from another, non human race. EXCITING!!!