Wednesday, 14 June 2017


How a book ends matters. If the book is a volume of a series, then its ending prepares for the beginning of the succeeding volume. A tetralogy by James Blish ends:

"Creation began."
-Cities In Flight, p. 596.

Volume I of Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization should introduce Ythrians, Nicholas van Rijn, David Falkayn and Adzel to the reader but not yet to each other. How much is being prepared in this volume. If, as I suggest, Volume I collects the first nine instalments of the History, then Adzel appears once and each of the others twice. By the time they meet, they are already well established characters.

Volume II should end, as in the Baen Books edition it does, with "Lodestar," the last time we see the trader team employed by van Rijn. The team will be reconvened much later but only once and for a different purpose. In "Lodestar," the shadow of God the Hunter is over the Polesotechnic League.

Volume III should end, as it does, with The People Of The Wind. Thus, the Terran Empire has been introduced but not yet Dominic Flandry. In my opinion, Volumes IV-VI should cover the entire Flandry period and should thus end with Flandry's Testament. Volume VII ends with human civilizations spread through several spiral arms of the galaxy and a period of unprecedented wealth about to begin in one of them.

Every end is a new beginning.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree with what you said about the Commonalty we see in "Starfog." My caveat being we only see it while it was a relatively young civilization. We don't know what will be the problems or crises that it will inevitably face. No guarantee those problems will be handled wisely and successfully.