Monday, 22 August 2016

References And Allusions

Poul Anderson, Operation Luna (New York, 2000).

"...a cutlass that sailed with Decatur..." (p. 175)

Who was Decatur?

"...NASA's was the only game in town." (p. 8)

"The Only Game In Town" is an early Time Patrol story by Anderson.

"'Matuchek and Matuchek, confounders of the ungodly, rescuers of the afflicted, we also walk dogs! Yahoo!'" (p. 166)

"- We Also Walk Dogs" is an early Future History story by Robert Heinlein.

With these two phrases, Anderson recalls an earlier era of sf and does not even have to fit either story into the continuity of Operation Luna, although the Heinlein story is very tenuously connected because both Valeria Matuchek and blind Rhysling visit the Old Phoenix.

I have remarked on incorporation of titles into texts before. See here.


David Birr said...

"Decatur" refers here to either of two American naval officers, father and son, both with the given name Stephen. It's most likely Stephen Decatur, Junior, because as Wikipedia puts it, "His name and legacy, like that of John Paul Jones, became identified with the United States Navy."

You probably noticed Wikipedia lists a lot of PLACES in the U.S. named Decatur. They were named in his honor.

Five ships of the U.S. Navy have been named in succession for him; the fifth is still in service. I have no doubt when that ship is retired, a new USS *Decatur* will soon be commissioned.

So that cutlass had a distinguished history. It surprised me a bit, when I first read that line, that Steve Matuchek had the money or connections to acquire it.

Paul Shackley said...

Thank you.

Paul Shackley said...

The sword was part of Steve's equipment for his raid on Hell so it came from employers and backers.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, David and Paul!

David: An analogous British weapon might well be the sword of Admiral Nelson, probably the greatest Naval hero of the UK.

Paul: Now THOSE were neat allusions Poul Anderson inserted into OPERATION LUNA, from Robert Heinlein and one of Anderson's own Time Patrol stories.