Friday, 14 October 2016
Building A Future History
"...had been born and raised on Altai." (The Van Rijn Method, p. 524)
We are told here that Altai is a "...chill planet..." and "...isolated in a largely unexplored frontier section." (ibid.) In fact, Dominic Flandry had visited Altai in a story published in 1959 whereas the story about Dalmady, "Esau," although set much earlier, was published in 1970. Thus, Anderson reuses a fictional planet, thereby solidifying the background of his fictional history.
By the same token, "Esau" introduces the planet Babur which plays a dominant role, and is even visited by Falkayn, in Mirkheim, published 1977. And Hloch, the Ythrian compiler of The Earth Book of Stormgate, tells us a little about the later life of Dalmady and of his children on Avalon. The second last story in the Earth Book:
"...is the last that Judith Dalmady/Lundgren wrote for Morgana. Though she was then in her high old age, the memories upon which she was drawing were fresh."
-Poul Anderson, Hloch's Introduction to "Wingless" IN Anderson, The Earth Book Of Stormgate (New York, 1978), pp. 409-410 AT p. 410.
Dalmady was a young man, as yet unmarried, in "Esau." His daughter was in "high old age" when she wrote "Wingless." She was long dead when quoted by Hloch. Anderson makes us feel history.
Although Hloch was invented only as a framing device, he becomes a substantial character in his own right:
"Thus far the common wisdom. As for the creation and history of our choth upon Avalon, that is in The Sky Book of Stormgate."
-Introduction to "Wingless," pp. 409-410 AT p. 410.
Anderson would have been aware of the Biblical resonance of this phrase. See here. We will not read the Sky Book. That is for Ythrians.
"Now The Earth Book of Stormgate is ended. From my tower I see the great white sweep of the snows upon Mount Anrovil. I feel the air blow in and caress my feathers. Yonder sky is calling. I will go.
"Fair winds forever."
Conclusion, p. 434.