Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Defender Of Two Worlds

Poul Anderson, Three Hearts And Three Lions (London, 1977), NOTE, pp. 154-156.

Poul Anderson tells his story so understatedly that we might miss its significance. Holger saves our Earth as well as the Carolingian one. Niels Bohr is being smuggled out of Europe during World War II but the Germans attack him and his helpers on the beach. Holger, scattering the hosts of Chaos, feels that he is also fighting on that beach. Then he is just fighting on that beach. Naked and running impossibly fast - on adrenalin - he gets among the Germans, grabs a gun (a skill common among Anderson heroes), uses it as a club and disposes of the enemy. Thus, if not for Holger, Chaos would have overwhelmed the Carolingian Earth and the Axis might have overwhelmed our Earth. Each of these victories is won in a single sentence.

"'...his escape was necessary...So Holger Danske arose to see that he did get free. I was...weeks?...gone in that Carolingian world, and returned to the same minute in this. Time is a funny thing.'" (p. 155)

Which other set of fantasy characters leaves our Earth during World War II, spends years in another world and returns to the moment they left?

10 comments:

  1. Paul:
    I presume you're referring to Their Majesties of Narnia.

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    1. Hi, David!

      The Narnian co-monarchs were the only ones I could think of fitting Paul's specifications. L. Sprague De Camp? No. Asimov, Heinlein, Clark, Davidson? No. And I can't think of any others of Anderson's books which also uses the concept.

      Sean

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    2. I referred, of course, to Narnia.

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    3. Kaor, Paul!

      Ha! i was trying too hard to think of other authors who used a similar concept! (Smiles)

      Sean

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  2. Sean and Paul:
    David Drake has used a notion resembling that in his *Northworld* science fiction trilogy. Northworld consists of nine worlds in linked other "dimensions" occupying the same physical space. Time spent in one of those worlds has no relation to time in another, so, yes, you CAN return to the moment you left after years elsewhere.

    Drake used this setting for stories based on the plots of Norse legends, the *Eddas* and the like.

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    1. Hi, David!

      I like that idea of Dave Drake! And the sentimentalist in me hopes, if we assume Holger to be a real person, he can return to Alianora only a very short time after being separated from her.

      I have read some of Drake's books, including collaborations with other authors (such as S.M. Stirling), but not his Northworld books.

      Sean

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    2. There can be a timeline where things happened differently for Holger and Alianora.

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    3. Kaor, Paul!

      I agree! And I think Poul Anderson left that possibility open in both THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS and A MIDSUMMER TEMPEST. The Holger we see in the latter book does not look or seem noticeably older than he was in THREE HEARTS.

      Sean

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  3. Paul and Sean:
    It's ALWAYS been part of my "head canon," as the expression goes, that Holger DID return to Alianora soon enough to have a happy life together. While I've enjoyed a number of Turtledove's works, I choose to hold onto my own belief in this matter.

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    1. Hi, David!

      And I agree with that preference, that Holger returned soon to Alianora! And I like to think Poul Anderson did as well, if anyone had thought to ask him about that before, alas, he died.

      Sean

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