Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Snows Of Ganymede

I have just received by post an ACE Double Novel Book, "TWO COMPLETE NOVELS," (New York, 1958) The Snows Of Ganymede and War Of The Wing-Men, both by Poul Anderson. (Ace Doubles could be by different authors.)

Wing-Men, "Complete & Unabridged," is pp. 5-160 on one side of the volume whereas Ganymede, "Complete Novel," upside down on the other side, is pp. 5-96. My rule of thumb for novel length is 100+ pages so I don't count Ganymede.

Everything shorter than a novel I count loosely as a "short story." I recognize that there is in fact an intermediate length but do not understand the terms "novelette" and "novella": long short story and short novel? (I might even have these the wrong way round.) These more precise length delineations make sense to publishers, editors and authors but maybe not to readers.

For both "novels", pp. 1-4 are blurb, Cast of Characters (incomplete), title page and publishing details. The Ganymede Cast of Characters lists:

Hall Davenant
Thorval Kruse
Angel-Three Garson
Cinc-Four Halleck

in each case followed by a cryptic comment but does not include Yamagata, who speaks on p. 5.

The opening sentence:

"Three dead men walked across the face of hell." (p.5)

- if taken literally, would introduce a fantasy but we learn almost immediately that they are on Ganymede with Jupiter on the horizon and the local equivalent of snow falling. They are "dead" in the sense that they will be when their air runs out: prolepsis = referring to a future event in the past tense as if it were already accomplished or completed.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

I remember how much I admired THE SNOWS OF GANYMEDE while reading it. Definitely an early work by Poul Anderson, and showing some "rough" spot here and there. But still thoroughy readable and containing some truly ingenious and interesting plot twists.