Thursday, 15 June 2017

Blur And Death

Rudi Mackenzie moves and fights so fast that he is:

"...a whirling screaming striking blur that left death and ululating agony in its wake..."
-SM Stirling, The Sword Of The Lady (New York, 2009), Chapter One, p. 13.

Accidental association of ideas: there are two versions of what Clark Kent did with his powers before he became Superman -

he was Superboy;
he moved so fast that he was known as "the Red and Blue Blur," later shortened to "the Blur."

"Death is a forgetting..." (p. 16)

I agree, provided that we are clear about what we mean by this. My memories will end at death and will not be reproduced in any later organism. However, I believe neither that individual consciousness will linger in a Summerland nor that there will be any one-to-one relationship between me and a later-born organism. Being is the subject of all consciousness and death is its Lethe.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    S.M. Stirling writes very well, so I'm sure I accepted this description of how Rudi fought when I read it. But I'm now wondering how PLAUSIBLE it would be for a warrior to fight so SWIFTLY.


    1. Sean:
      At the very least, this describes how he SEEMS, in the heat of battle, to those around him.

    2. Kaor, DAVID!

      Yes, I think I can see that. And, you, being retired Army, would have a better idea than I can on how men actually move in combat, and how fast.


    3. Sean:
      Remember, I was never IN combat, or even in a specialty where it was LIKELY I'd be in combat — not directly, anyway. So, no; I don't believe my service time had much or any influence in this regard. But it's a common experience that in a crisis EVERYTHING seems to be happening too fast.

    4. Kaor, DAVID!

      Understood, what you said about these two points you made. I've also seen descriptions in some of PA's stories where, in a crisis, "everything" seems to move SLOWLY. When events were actually happening SWIFTLY.


    5. Sean:
      I've seen the "time slows down" effect in a number of stories, too. Most of them that I recall, though, are EITHER cases where this is shown to be an exceptional person, and the slowing of his/her perception of time allows for what feels like unhurried calculation and aiming — OR people who are in effect given plenty of time to realize fully just how helpless they are.

    6. Kaor, DAVID!

      I agree, and I thought it a very interesting literary device when used by authors as skillful as Poul Anderson or S.M. Stirling, to name just two.