Sunday, 30 September 2012

In The Footsteps Of St Paul

From 17 November to 1 December, 2012, I will be on holiday in Malta and not using a computer. Anyone then viewing this blog will not find any new posts but I hope that past posts will still be read.

The blog addresses anyone already familiar with Poul Anderson's works and anyone else who might become interested in them. Anderson's complete works should be republished and could be adapted into other media.

I aim to show that this vast and varied body of work is worth reading and rereading. It comprehensively covers past, future and alternative histories in several genres and styles and at lengths varying from (many) single short stories to trilogies, tetralogies and multi-volume series. Anderson applied to his fiction an extensive knowledge of both mythology and science. His works address fundamental issues of life, humanity and society:

like James Blish, though with a much larger output, he is a significant successor to HG Wells, Olaf Stapledon and Robert Heinlein;

like his contemporary, JRR Tolkien, he is a significant successor to the Eddas, sagas and William Morris;

his A Midsummer Tempest, both a sequel to Shakespeare's The Tempest and a companion volume to other Anderson fantasies, conceals blank verse dialogue and even a Shakespearean sonnet in its prose.

This combination of genres and skills is unique as is the coexistence of both quantity and quality in a single body of work. Both Wells and Heinlein declined whereas Anderson innovated and speculated anew at the very end of his career. He was agnostic but respected Christianity so perhaps my initial reference to St Paul's adventures was more relevant than I realised.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Yes, I agree! Unlike Heinlein or Asimov, the quality of Poul Anderson's writing did not decline in his later years. I esp. have in mind his magnificent "Harvest of Stars" books and GENESIS.

And you already know I have my doubts on how truly agnostic Anderson was. My impression of him from the works of his later years was that he at least wanted to believe in God. And, yes, he did have respect for Christianity, esp. the Catholic Church.

One bit of evidence I bring to your attention is Anderson's poem "Prayer in War," to be found in both ORION SHALL RISE and the collection of his poetry called STAVES.


Serenity said...

Many of Anderson's works portray a complex relationship between various branches of the Church and the elder religions; pagan and Christian themes are prominently featured in 'Operation Chaos', 'The King of Ys', 'The Merman's Children', and 'The Corridors of Time', among others. He shows respect for both traditions, although he does take a few digs at Gnostic Christianity in 'Operation Chaos' and its sequel.

Paul Shackley said...

Welcome to the Poul Anderson Appreciation blog and thank you for commenting on a post from so long ago.