Thursday, 29 March 2018

Cairncross And The Milky Way

(The image shows part of another story by Poul Anderson.)

Edwin Cairncross, Grand Duke of Hermes:

"...turned his glance from the Milky Way. Its iciness declared that the Empire was an incident upon certain attendants of a hundred thousand stars, lost in the outskirts of a galaxy which held more than a hundred billion. A man must ignore mockery."
-Poul Anderson, A Stone In Heaven IN Anderson, Flandry's Legacy (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 1-188 AT II, p. 26.

Cairncross' response to immensity is to ignore it.

Emperor Gerhart receives Cairncross in the same tower as Hans had received Flandry:

clear dome with view of roofs and ocean;
Germanian dolchzahn rug;
a model of Hans' first corvette.

We wondered whether the La Reine Louise disaster resulted from sabotage. See here. Cairncross inwardly asks the same question about the spaceship crash that killed Gerhart's elder brother. Gerhart's father was a usurper. Is Gerhart a fratricide? How low can the Empire sink?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

"Inside Earth" is yet another of the many uncollected stories and articles of Poul Anderson I have not read. Frustrating!

I think you should have mentioned how Emperor Gerhart added a portrait of his father, with Emperor Hans described as being as shrewd and determined as ever, even shortly before his death.

Yes, it would have been utterly REPREHENSIBLE if Gerhart was indeed a fratricide. But, Anderson, fair as ever, has Cairncross reflecting that Gerhart was at least far more able and shrewder than his luckless brother. So, I would like to think it was only a SPECULATION that Gerhart murdered Dietrich.

And to fair, in my own lifetime, many rulers have done far worse things. Idi Amin, former dictator of Uganda, was not only cruel, brutal, capricious, but was also accused of being a cannibal. And the dictator of Russia, Putin, has been caught red handed having his goons murdering people in the UK itself. And I could list many others who have done far worst things than what Gerhart was only suspected of doing.