Tuesday, 6 September 2016
Defender Of Two Worlds
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?