Monday, 4 December 2017

Potlach And Prayer

Manse Everard of the Time Patrol prevents a Mongol invasion of North America by stranding their expedition there in 1280 AD:

"The expedition would stay, marry into the Indians, live out their days. Chinook, Tlingit, Nootka, all the potlach tribes, with their big seagoing canoes, lodges and copperworking, furs and cloths and haughtiness...well, a Mongol Noyon or even a Confucian scholar might live less happily and usefully than in creating such a life for such a race."
-Poul Anderson, "The Only Game in Town" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (Riverdale, NY, 2010), pp. 129-171 AT p. 171.

Prince John of Montival remembers his "ancestral seafarers," including:

"...the potlach tribes who'd driven their massive canoes down Montival's coast, Tinglit and Salish and Maka."
-SM Stirling, Prince Of Outcasts (New York, 2017), Chapter Three, p. 48.

The potlach tribes are common to different timelines.

John prays:

"'And hear us when we cry to Thee, for those in peril on the sea!'"
-op. cit., p. 49.

In yet another fictional timeline, Robert Heinlein extends this hymn, thus:

"-hear us when we pray to Thee
"For those in peril on the sea.

"Almighty Ruler of the all
"Whose power extends to great and small,
"Who guides the stars with steadfast law,
"Whose least creation fills with awe;
"Oh grant Thy mercy and Thy grace
"To those who venture into space."
-Robert Heinlein, "Ordeal in Space" IN Heinlein, The Green Hills Of Earth (London, 1967), pp. 115-130 AT p. 120.

We have just quoted:

Heinlein's Future History, which influenced Anderson's future histories;
Anderson's Time Patrol Series;
Stirling's Emberverse alternative future history series -

- and I must fulfill some family responsibilities before posting again.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I like that Space Man's prayer you quoted from Heinlein! I have no doubt at all that when mankind FINALLY gets serious about space that similar prayers will be composed and used. Some might even incorporate Heinlein's text.


S.M. Stirling said...

The potlatch tribes had an extraordinarily complex culture for a nonagricultural people, with extraordinary arts and a very rich ceremonial life -- probably because their subsistence strategy was based on fishing and hunting marine mammals in extraordinarily rich waters, especially the annual salmon migration, with allowed them to have large, completely sedentary settlements.

They were also notoriously savage raiders and slavers.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

All of which makes me wonder if some Mongols and Chinese were actually stranded among the ancestors of what became the potlach tribes a la Poul Anderson's "The Only Game In Town."

And we certainly see how savage and brutal their Haida descendants were in your Emberverse books!