Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Nicholas Van Rijn, Actor And Spy

The previous post demonstrated that Poul Anderson's knowledge of history informed not only his historically based fiction but also his main future history series. Technic civilization follows Western civilization as Western followed Classical.

After one night in Moath's castle on Dathyna, van Rijn complains so dramatically about the temperature, the pollen, the noises etc that Beldaniel arranges for the prisoners to sleep in their ship with the drive removed and guards outside - but the radio intact. Beldaniel accepts that it would help van Rijn to understand the Shenna if he were able to hear their radio programs. He would not be a safe man to have as a prisoner.

When Moath returns from the Grand Council and harangues his household into a frenzy, van Rijn shouts at Beldaniel:

"'Tell me what is happening! I order you!'" (David Falkayn: Star Trader, 562) -

- and she obeys. This is the fruition of all his work on Beldaniel. Now knowing that the Shenna intend to attack Technic planets, van Rijn transmits a coded message to Falkayn, Chee Lan or anyone else who may be nearby...

How does he do it? Just the physical description of the Minotaur-like Shenna would put me off wanting to be taken to their planet.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree, Old Nick would be a very DANGEROUS prisoner if any of his enemies captured him. Someone as wily and shrewd as him would some finagle some means of escaping and turning the tables on his opponents. Rather as Dominic Flandry repeatedly did to the Merseians.