Monday, 17 October 2016

In The Pleiades

We soon learn what apprentice Juan Hernandez means by "...a strange and lonely place..." (see here) He and five other human beings are in:

an old ruined city
surrounded by wilderness
on a chill planet
orbiting a red dwarf star
in the Pleiades region of space!

I reproduced that description as a list in order to convey that there are no less than five levels of increasing bleakness. In fact, the sense of isolation is increased by the fact that the ruin is not just old. It is said to have been great five thousand years previously. The window shows:

"...the stark, sullenly lit landscape and a snag of ancient wall..." (The Van Rijn Method, p. 320)

Poul Anderson knew how to create atmosphere. In these surroundings, sixteen year old Juan proposes to celebrate Christmas against the opposition of Master Trader Thomas Overbeck. Have fun, guys! Because this story is written by Anderson, there will be a serious problem, Juan will resolve it and his determination to celebrate Christmas will turn out to be symbolically appropriate. It is just a matter of reading on to learn how the story unfolds.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Juan's determination to celebrate Christmas on Ivanhoe was not merely symbolically important, it also had practical consequences. Because Master Trader Overbeck was making a serious mistake about the Ivanhoans. A mistake rectified by Juan.