Thursday, 10 May 2018

In Van Rijn's Penthouse

Both in Poul Anderson's "Esau" and in his "The Master Key," Nicholas van Rijn, in his penthouse on the roof of the Winged Cross in Chicago Integrate on Earth in the Solar Commonwealth, receives an account of events on an extra-solar planet. In "Esau," the account is delivered by a single employee of van Rijn's Solar Spice & Liquors Company whereas, in "The Master Key," his informants are two employees and two other men are also present, one of them narrating for our benefit.

In "The Master Key," a single long conversation unfolds the story of what happened on Cain whereas, in "Esau," the conversation/confrontation between Emil Dalmady and van Rijn sandwiches the third person account of Dalmady's exploits on Suleiman.

Thus, even in superficially similar stories, Anderson deploys diverse narrative techniques.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And I'm still amused by how Emil Dalmady had MISUNDERSTOOD why he was meeting Old Nick. NOT for a reprimand--but because van Rijn simply wanted a personal account of how Dalmady had solved the problem in "Esau." And a chance to personally evaluate Emil.


S.M. Stirling said...

And Emil went through layers of flunkies like "a bulldozer after a cowdozer"...

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

I remember that amusing line as well! And how Emil didn't the flunkies time to explain why he had been summoned all the way from Suleiman.