Friday, 9 June 2017


Poul Anderson argues that war is often a necessary evil and also shows that it is horrific. See Experience Of War and Real War. But does anyone match SM Stirling for detailed descriptions of bloody butchering battles? See The Scourge Of God, Chapter Thirteen, pp. 331-342. I have just reached p. 333 where the enemy infantry makes a disciplined military retreat, bowmen shooting behind them. Glancing ahead, it seems that this entire passage is one long battle sequence ending with personal experience of death.

Some long passages in Homer's Iliad describe the back and forth of battle outside Troy. As Homer is perhaps the poet of war, Stirling is definitely one of its novelists. Although war is one of the many activities described by Anderson, I do not classify him as a war writer per se. However, when Manse Everard or Gratllonius goes onto a battlefield, we are in no doubt what it is like.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I have read that one of the HARDEST things for any army to do is make a disciplined, orderly retreat when defeated. It is all too easy for panic to take hold of a defeated army and turn a setback into a CATASTROPHE.