Saturday, 5 May 2018

The Narrator And The Spiral Arm

"The galaxy, even this tiny fragment of one spiral arm which we have somewhat explored, is inconceivably huge."
-Poul Anderson, "The Trouble Twisters" IN Anderson, David Falkayn: Star Trader (Riverdale, NY, 2010), pp. 77-208 AT II, p. 98.

What does this single sentence tell us about the narrator of "The Trouble Twisters"? That one word, "...we...," reveals that s/he is not omniscient and is a contemporary of Nicholas van Rijn and David Falkayn. We also know that s/he is not Hloch or any other contributor to to The Earth Book Of Stormgate. That is all.

We should pull together our references to the "one spiral arm":

Van Rijn And The Spiral Arm
A Fringe Of The Galaxy
What We Know
Axor And The Spiral Arm
Dual Details On Diomedes (And The Spiral Arm)
Visible Stars And The Spiral Arm
Flandry, Kit, Svantozik And The Spiral Arm
Belated Blogging And The Spiral Arm
The Terran Empire And The Spiral Arm
Known Space And The Spiral Arm
Ivar And The Galaxy
On The Edge Of One Spiral Arm

Any more relevant posts will be linked from here. 

4 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

An EXTENDED development by Anderson of the "ones spiral arm" theme can be found in Chapter I of A KNIGHT OF GHOSTS AND SHADOWS. And one which I believe deserves to be quoted in full:

...His [Flandry's] gaze went to the stars in the
viewscreen. Without amplification, few that he
could see lay in the more or less 200 [shouldn't
that be 400?] light-year radius of that rough and
blurry-edged spheroid named the Terran Empire.
Those were giants, visible by virtue of shining
across distances we can traverse, under hyperdrive,
but will never truly comprehend; and they filled
the merest, tiniest fragment of the galaxy, far out
in a spiral arm where their numbers were beginning
to thin toward cosmic hollowness. Yet this insigni-
ficant Imperial bit of space held an estimate four million suns. Maybe half of these had been visited
at least once. About a hundred thousand worlds of
theirs might be considered to belong to the Empire, though for most the connection was ghostly tenuous...
It was too much. There were too many environments,
races, cultures, lives, messages. No mind, no
government could know the whole, let alone cope.

Nevertheless that sprawl of planets, peoples, pro-
vinces, and protectorates must somehow cope, or see
he Long Night fall. Barbarians, who had gotten space
ships and nuclear weapons too early in their history,
prowled the borders. The civilized Roidhunate of
Merseia probed, withdrew a little--seldom the whole
way--waited, probed again. Rigel caught Flandry's
eye, a beacon amidst the great enemy's dominions.

And the bit about the "sprawl of planets, peoples, provinces, and protectorates" has stuck in my mind. Here we see as well the "one spiral arm" motif and how SMALL the Empire was compared to the rest of our commonplace galaxy.

Sean

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dang! I made a mess of trying to indent the passages I quoted from A KNIGHT OF GHOSTS AND SHADOWS.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
The diameter of the Terran Empire is 400 light-years so its radius is 200 light-years.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Thanks! I think I understand now. Terra's writ ran 200 light years in all directions from Sol. That was its RADIUS. It's diameter from any frontier of the Imperial domain was 400 light years from end to end.

Sean