Thursday, 13 October 2016

Van Rijn POV VI

For references, see here.

On pp. 158-160, there is a passage from van Rijn's pov set inside the spaceship Mercury. For a previous post about this voyage, see here.

The Mercury's cargo is van Rijn's usual:

cinnamon;
ginger;
pepper;
cloves;
tea;
whisky;
gin.

No wine because this will be a rough trip. But no coffee either? We later learn that tea will be a successful Terrestrial export. It will eventually be grown throughout the Merseian Roidhunate.

For this trip, van Rijn is captain and his cabin contains:

Dorcas Gherardini;
brandy;
tobacco;
ripe cheese.

The crew is:

Rafael Torres (usually a captain), mate;
Petrovich and Seiichi (also usually captains), engineers.

The ship:

lifts from Quito Spaceport;
waits in orbit for clearance;
accelerates out on negagrav;
goes hyper.

HG Wells' character, Cavor, would have been pleased to hear that negative gravity is used.

Van Rijn imparts some wisdom to Torres:

there are very few certainties;
it is necessary to live by probabilities;
"'...make the odds favor you...'" (p. 160);
in the long run, you will be ahead;
study statistics.

3 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Coffee might well not have taken the fancy of Merseians or beings of other races, but I can see many human colonies either growing coffee themselves or eagerly importing it.

    The mention of Cavor reminds me of how I SHOULD get back to reading Wells novel of how men first traveled to the Moon.

    And I agree with van Rijn's advice! Hank Davis discussed in one of the introductions he wrote for the Baen Books collecting of the entire Technic Civilization series how some of van Rijn's shrewd sayings were used to teach how to do business.

    Sean

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  2. Paul and Sean:
    A merchant dealing in van Rijn's sort of stock would also always have the problem of making sure his wares weren't poisonous to a new batch of customers. If ethical, he'd also want to ensure they weren't addictive (if unethical, he'd hope they WERE). That worry came up in one of Andre Norton's stories. Interestingly, the spaceship's expert on trade matters in the Norton book was named "J. Van Rycke."

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    Replies
    1. Kaor, DAVID!

      This time I remembered to address you correctly!

      Good points! And I am convinced Old Nick WOULD make sure his factors and merchant ship captains took pains to ensure his stock in trade would not either poison would be customers or be addictive.

      Sean

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