Wednesday, 14 June 2017
One Of The Differences Between Fiction And Reality
The situation is different if a novel ends with an unanswered question. Did Aycharaych survive the bombardment of Chereion? We can think that he probably did not but that is as far as it goes. Poul Anderson could have gone on to write a "Return of Aycharaych" and he even hinted at that two novels later but there is no definitive answer to the question.
How did van Rijn, Falkayn or Flandry die? What will become of the later civilization that we are shown in the Technic History? What is Jeeves' first name? (Apparently that question was answered in a later novel.) What does M stand for? (We were eventually told that.) In the real world, even if we do not know a man's first name, he does have a first name whereas someone knowledgeable about English literature, when asked, "What is Jeeves' first name?," replied, "He doesn't have one!"
I have reflected on this aspect of fiction before. The issue has come up again because of an ingenious ending to a James Bond story. Bond knows that the obnoxious millionaire, Krest, was murdered either by Mrs Krest or by Bond's friend but he cannot deduce which of them did it... So which of them did it?