Wednesday, 1 February 2017

"The Faun": Opening Paragraph

Comparing future histories has led us back to (what I call) Poul Anderson's Directorate History, which is just four stories.

"The Faun" was published in Boy's Life and thus is one of Anderson's juvenile works (see also here). The title and the opening sentence:

"A wyvern flew up in a thunder of splendid wings."
-Poul Anderson, "The Faun" IN Anderson, The Queen Of Air And Darkness and other stories (London, 1977), pp. 86-90 AT p. 86 -

- suggest a fantasy but the following sentences clarify that the story is set on a colonized extra-solar planet.

"A python tree coiled its branches." (ibid.)

A tree so called because its branches move.

"A chiming rang among the tiny red blossoms that covered the ground." (ibid.)

As often before, Anderson tells us what a terrestroid planet has instead of grass.

"Alien in the forest, a grove of pines stirred only to a breeze." (ibid.)

So this planet has been colonized by human beings who have brought some of their own ecology with them. And that concludes the opening paragraph.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I would expect and HOPE human colonists would bring some of Earth's ecology to their new homes on extra-Solar planets. Because we have to expect that even the most terrestroid planets will be lacking in some things needed by human beings. So I would expect Terran crops and meat animals to be introduced, to correct for any dietary deficiencies. And Earth's trees would be planted as well.


  2. Paul:
    I read "The Faun" in *Boy's Life* back when I WAS a juvenile. So that was actually the very first PA work I read (though I didn't pay much attention to the author's name), three or four years before I got into the Flandry stories and "No Truce With Kings".

    1. David,
      Little did you know...

    2. Kaor, DAVID!

      For me, the very first Poul Anderson story or book I read was the first edition of AGENT OF THE TERRAN EMPIRE. That was enough to get me hooked on Anderson's works!

      And "No Truce With Kings" ties in thematically with another Anderson story, "Details." We see how skeptical Anderson was of ideas about how it "should" be possible to "scientifically" predict how societies will develop.

      "No Truce With Kings" also interests me in how it shows us both Anderson's libertarian leanings and how FEUDALISM can be libertarian. A very unusual twist!

      An old Boy Scout? I was never in the Scouts, but I do respect what it once was and many, many these days are appalled by what it has become. The founder of the Scouting movement, Lord Baden-Powell, would be livid!


    3. Sean:
      I didn't stay with Scouting long — my family tended to move every five years or so during my childhood, so friendships and associations were broken off. When we moved from where we'd been at the time I joined the Cub Scouts, we didn't bother looking for a new Scout group at our new location.

    4. Kaor, DAVID!

      Understood! I have read of the problems caused to military families who had to frequently move.


    5. Both,
      I taught in a boarding school which had pupils from military families or whose parents worked abroad.

    6. Paul and Sean:
      Oh, no, mine wasn't a military family; I was the first to make it a career. Dad was a Lutheran minister, and for reasons I don't know, periodically he or perhaps the congregation would decide it was time to "clear the palate," so to speak, and the pastor would move away.

      Although it's certainly true that service families suffer from the same effect. What's more, as someone pointed out on another site, if a soldier's offspring try to visit the old hometown — the Army base where they spent part of their childhood — they may well be turned away by armed guards in the name of security. "You can't go home again" in a more literal sense than Mr. Thomas meant.

    7. Kaor, Paul and DAVID!

      Paul, and what you said reminded me of Rudyard Kipling's book STALKY AND COMPANY. An affectionately humorous look at an English boarding school. Apparently modeled on a school Kipling attended.

      David, understood! Perhaps your father and his congregations didn't always agree on matters of theology and liturgy. And it's rather sad, what you said about a soldier's children often not being able to revisit former homes.


    8. Sean:
      And I note, with great embarrassment, that I attributed that line to Dylan Thomas, but it was by Thomas Wolfe.

    9. Kaor, DAVID!

      No problem! Not being familiar with the works of either of these men, it went right over my head! (Smiles)