Friday, 28 July 2017

After-Dinner Conversations

An after-dinner conversation is a comfortable setting for the narration of a "story within the story," e.g.:

HG Wells, The Time Machine;
Ian Fleming, "Quantum of Solace,"
Poul Anderson - which short story? (I forget the title.)

James Bond has dinner with the British Governor in Nassau who recounts a story about one of the other guests after she has left. Dominic Flandry has dinner with the Imperial resident on Diomedes, Martin Lagard, and his wife, Susette. Flandry recounts a risque reminiscence at which Lagard smiles sourly but Susette laughs and blushes. Anderson does not share the reminiscence with his readers. Later, Flandry and Susette do more than converse and Flandry gathers intelligence from what he persuades her to divulge.

Glory to the Emperor!

7 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Hmmmm, the closest I can think of an "after dinner story" in one of Anderson's works might be "The Master Key," altho that was not AFTER a dinner. But it does show Nicholas van Rijn receiving guests in a comfortable setting while discussing the problem posed by the planet named Cain.

    Another possibility might be the conversation Dominic Flandry had with Chunderban Desai in A KNIGHT OF GHOSTS AND SHADOWS as a farewell party hosted by Emperor Hans was ending.

    Glory to the Emperor!

    Sean

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    Replies
    1. Sean,
      There is a short story - not one of Anderson's best - where a bunch of guys talk and conclude that the world is ending - or something like that.
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Aha! You meant "The Disintegrating Sky," pub. by FANTASTIC UNIVERSE in 1953. Written when it was, so early in Anderson's career, it would not be surprising the story was not as good as most of his middle and late phase works would be.

      I think "The Disintegrating Sky" was the first time I read a story using the idea of the persons in it realizing they were only characters in a book written by a writer who had created them. AND that story had a bite in it, the "author" was not satisfied with his book and was going to end it with a "flaming finish."

      While "Sky" was not one of Anderson's best, it was still readable and competently written.

      Sean

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    3. Sean,
      That is it. The title is unmemorable.
      Paul.

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    4. Kaor, Paul!

      Do you think the titles chosen for their stories and novels by many authors are weak and unsatisfactory? I can see that as being true in some cases. Would "The Flaming Sky" be a better choice for "The Disintegrating Sky"?

      Sean

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    5. Sean,
      Not sure about that story. I think that in general Anderson's titles are very good.
      Paul.

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    6. Kaor, Paul!

      I agree, and some of the weaker titles of Anderson's works were imposed on them by publishers on first publication. Such as the awful WAR OF THE WING MEN (Anderson's PREFERRED title being THE MAN WHO COUNTS).

      Sean

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