Friday, 13 January 2017

Tales Of The Flying Mountains And The Sandman: Worlds' End

Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: Worlds' End is modeled on Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales: characters conversing in an inn tell tales and we read the tales. Poul Anderson's Tales Of The Flying Mountains (New York, 1984) has a similar structure: an Advisory Council discussing educational philosophy in a lounge  " the dome of a turret rising from the outer hull..." (p. 11) of the spaceship Astra cite historical examples and we read the examples.

The Prologue ends:

"'Someone mentioned Emett and the origin of the truly interplanetary age. How can you explain to an unsophisticated youngster what brought on that beginning?'" (p. 17)

That question comes on the last line of a right hand page. Turning the page, we begin to read the story of Emett's introduction of gyrogravitics. When that story has finished, Interlude 1 begins:

"'Do you mean that the geegee was invented merely because a couple of bloated bureaucracies were bound and determined to keep going?'" (p. 38)

Has one member of the Advisory Council recounted the story that we have just read or have they all just remembered it? Either way, we have had a story-length flashback.

The first four stories of Heinlein's Future History precede the first Moon landing in 1978. The first story in Tales Of The Flying Mountains ends with the beginning of the gyrogravitic conquest of the Solar System.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I thought it was amusing to think of two desperate bureaucracies, faced with getting the chop, latching on to
Emett's gyragravitics as a means of saving themselves. An all too humanly plausible scenario!