Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Van Rijn POV III

For references, see here.

For the merchants' deliberations, see here.

Van Rijn:

"...thought back to days when he had ridden ships through yonder spaces, bargaining in strange cities or strange wildernesses, or beneath unblue skies and in poisonous winds, for treasures Earth had not yet imagined. For a moment, wistfulness tugged at him. A long time now since he had been any further than the Moon ...poor aging fat man, chained to a single planet and cursed whenever he turned an honest credit." (p. 147)

We would like to read a "Young van Rijn" series. Sometimes, as with Flandry, we read about a character's later years after we have read about his earlier years. At other times, as with van Rijn, the earlier years are left to the imagination. Van Rijn has some similarities to Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot who started his private detective agency after he had retired from a position in the Belgian police. Thus, both series begin with an already aged central character.

Throughout history, the Moon has been unreachable and unattainable. In some sf, "no further than the Moon" means like our backyard.

We think that van Rijn's self-pity is an act even if he sometimes internalizes it. He does not give a damn about criticism of his profit-making. He goes on to think:

"...he could retire, but then what would there be to engage his energies?" (p. 147)

That is pathetic. There is plenty to do when you retire - unless you are so nose-to-the-grindstone that you forget everything else? Van Rijn will eventually lobby to hold the League together, then, we think, lead an expedition outside known space - a perfect use for his energies.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I think Old Nick's wistfulness about being "chained" to Earth was partly real and partly fake. The real part came from him being no longer an up and coming young merchant adventurer with his fortune to make. Like it or not, his very SUCCESS did its bit to "chain" him to Earth. Because he HAD to run his company from a single location SOMEWHERE.

I think the "nose to the grindstone" was partly real for Old Nick. He had gotten so used to wheeling and dealing and managing is Solar Spice & Liquours that it had become difficult for him to do anything else. The Mirkheim/Babur crisis broke him out of that rut. For five or ten years he would focus on trying to patch up the Polesotechnic League well enough for it to last a few more generations. Then Old Nick would go off on his last, really LONG journey of exploration.