Friday, 7 October 2016

Mythical References In Hard SF

"He had not been truthful in claiming indifference whether he lived or died: not while a supple young woman stood clad in sunlight, and blooded horses stamped on the ringing plains of Ilion, and smoke curled fragrant about coffee and cognac on Earth. But half the pleasure came from these things being staked against darkness."
-Poul Anderson, Captain Flandry: Defender Of The Terran Empire (New York, 2010), p. 318.
-copied from here.

Ilion is Troy. Thus, Flandry refers to Homer's Iliad. But we know that Poul Anderson adapted Northern European myths into heroic fantasies, historical novels and historical sf and their language also influences Flandry's thinking. Emperor Hans:

"...either appalled Manuel Argos or won a grudging approval, in whatever hypothetical hell or Valhalla the Founder dwelt." (Sir Dominic Flandry, p. 380)

Hell or Valhalla: Biblical or Eddaic!

Flandry reflects that he himself has had:

"A career that was, well, interesting, but for whose gold he had paid the Nibelung's price." (Flandry's Legacy, p. 175)

When he enters combat that he expects to be his last, he thinks:

"Hai, what a ride! Here comes the Wild Huntsman!" (p. 179)

I think that Flandry also refers to the Norns...?

Addendum: On second thoughts, it is probably Everard.

6 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I would like to think of Manuel Argos as being in heaven, not hell! After all, hard man tho he was, the Founder was not EVIL. Nothing like, say, William Walker.

    Sean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sean,
      I think that "hell" just sometimes vaguely means an indiscriminate hereafter.
      Paul.

      Delete
    2. Kaor, Paul!

      But "hell" is a most unpleasant place while "Valhalla" is a much more pleasant location. That was how I understood Poul Anderson line.

      Sean

      Delete
  2. Flandry refers to the Norn of his personal destiny in "The Game of Glory", second to last paragraph.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andreas,
      Thank you very much!
      Paul.

      Delete
    2. Dear Mr. Johansson,

      Darn! I should have remembered that reference by Flandry to the Norns. I remembered after you pointed it out!

      Sean

      Delete