Thursday, 13 August 2015

Sunset Smoldered

As we approach the climax and conclusion of Poul Anderson's "Star Of The Sea," a new chapter begins by describing the ending of a day:

"The early sunset smoldered above the forest." (Time Patrol, p. 610)

There are intimations of death as the opening paragraph continues:

"Boughs were like black bones athwart it. Puddles in field and paddock glowed dull red with it..." (ibid.)

Thus, branches resemble bones and water resembles blood.

"...beneath a greenish sky as cold as the wind that eddied whimpering across them." (ibid.)

A cold whimpering wind does not incline us to anticipate a happy ending.

"A flight of crows passed. Their hoarse cries sounded for a while after the dusk had swallowed them up." (ibid.)

Flights of birds were interpreted as omens. Hoarse cries sound ominous: will the dusk that swallows the crows also swallow the characters and their hopes? That concludes this opening paragraph - the scene has been set for darkness and death.

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