Thursday, 11 August 2016

The Visitor II

Poul Anderson, "The Visitor" IN Anderson, All One Universe (New York, 1997), pp. 221-234.

The opening page evokes mixed feelings. It prepares us for a shock:

"'Don't be shocked at his appearance...'" (p. 223)

The characters are about to attempt what cannot be a controlled experiment and must:

"' least try to keep down the wild variables.'" (ibid.)

The character, Ferrier, drums his fingers as he speaks. All of this makes us nervous.

However, at the same time, Ferrier drives himself and the narrator through a peaceful Ohio countryside with:

green lawns, trees and fields;
white houses;
red barns;
blue flax;
telephone lines;
a warm wind;
the sound of the wind in the trees;
the scent from a rose bed;
their destination, a hospital that fits in with this countryside.

Regular Anderson readers look out for colors (four) and senses (also four). By the end of the page, we are nervous again as the narrator fails to hide his reaction to the appearance of the man who waits for them - but we must turn the page to learn more.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

This makes me wonder if "The Visitor" should be classified among those stories by Anderson with unexpected, even shocking endings.