Sunday, 22 April 2018

An Unidentified Floating Object

Poul Anderson's The Rebel Worlds begins with tripartite Didonian consciousnesses remembering human beings. Anderson's The Man Who Counts begins with a Diomedean Executive Officer reporting his scouts' first sighting of newly arrived human beings:

a floating object six times as long as the longest canoe;
like ice, bright and shimmering;
not designed like a boat, settling in the water;
scurrying about on it, three animals, about Diomedean size, wingless, tailless, apparently clothed, like typical flightless land forms although only four-limbed;
not fish or sea mammals so their object has not emerged from The Deeps;
(sarcastically) so they must have fallen from the sky?;
(somberly) that is the only direction left.

We understand that we are reading an alien account of our own kind but we do not yet know that they include Nicholas van Rijn whom we have already encountered in "Margin of Profit."

A history encompasses many perspectives.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I like the ingenious way Poul Anderson opened THE MAN WHO COUNTS, showing humans as they appeared to aliens seeing them for the first time.

And THE REBEL WORLDS has a prologue and epilogue giving us some idea of how tri-bodied Didonian entities try to make sense of human beings.

Here we see non-humans who do not exist in modes of existence impossible for either party to have some real and genuine understanding, as was the case in "Night Piece."