Thursday, 4 May 2017

Marine Metaphors

Here is a question for Poul Anderson fans. How does Anderson describe the physical movements of his characters? Can you find relevant descriptive passages? Nicholas van Rijn is both tall and fat, generally large. Does he waddle? He does know how to handle himself in physical combat. Aycharaych is tall, thin waisted and probably of avian descent. Does he glide? Flandry is athletic and a leader. Chives is a respectful and efficient servant. How do these guys' different social roles affect their bodily movements?

Readers who enjoy Anderson's prose should appreciate these character descriptions in Ian Fleming's Casino Royale (London, 1965):

"...Le Chiffre, with the silence and economy of movement of a large fish, came through the opening in the brass rail..." (Chapter 10, p. 73)

"...the Greek's pale hairy hands...lay inert like two watchful pink crabs on the table.
"The two pink crabs scuttled out together..." (p. 74)

"Like an octopus under a rock, Le Chiffre watched him..." (Chapter 13, p. 92)

Both Bond and Flandry have undersea adventures. Fleming applies language creatively when he extends these aquatic terms to human bodily movements.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And of course Chives reminds me of other fictional butlers: Bertie Wooster's bulter Jeeves in Wodehouse's books; Mr. Bunter in Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey novels; Henry (not exactly a butler, but very butler like!) in Asimov's Black Widowers' stories. And, naturally, Batman's butler Alfred. What they all had in common was efficiency, discretion, loyalty to their employers.