Wednesday, 29 August 2018


Poul Anderson, World Without Stars, XV.

Conflict has ended.

"The weather had cleared for a while..." (p. 106)

Conflict will resume.

"...though fresh thunderheads were piling up in the north, blue-black masses where lightning winked." (ibid.)

A military lesson is common to this novel and to Anderson's "The Sorrow of Odin the Goth": if the enemy has just gained an advantage and has relaxed and if it is possible to gather enough forces to mount a sudden and unexpected counterattack, then it might be possible to turn the tide of battle.

In my school days, a Rugby team scored and got ahead shortly before the final whistle and thought that they had won. The other team immediately counterattacked, scored and got ahead and then the referee blew the final whistle.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

That has happened in real history, a seemingly beaten army snatching victory from the jaws of defeat when their opponents became prematurely careless.

And that reminded me of how a frustrated President Lincoln, during the US Civil War, commented of one of his blundering generals that he had "snatched defeat from the jaws of victory"!