Saturday, 21 January 2017

Pun And Gun

"Both guards bent close to the lying man."
-Poul Anderson, "Say It With Flowers" IN Anderson, Tales Of The Flying Mountains (New York, 1984), pp. 103-125 AT p. 118.

"...lying..." turns out to have been a pun. Flowers, a prisoner, has faked an illness to get a drop on his guards. Like moments of realization, "hero punches guard and grabs gun" is a standard Anderson plot maneuver. But it has to be presented plausibly and Anderson manages that here.

The war for asteroid independence has begun before this story starts and ends before it does. This is an economically written future history. Flowers winds up not only meeting but even employing the North American Intelligence officer who had interrogated him.

Interlude 3 confirms that there were Soviet asteroid colonies. Thus, the Soviet Union lasted much longer in the Flying Mountains timeline than it did in ours. Check out its parallel histories in James Blish's Cities In Flight and in Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium History.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And North American Intelligence failed to obtain the information Flowers was transporting partly because he did not even KNOW that information, or even that he had it at all. Ingenious, a messenger who did not know he was a messenger.