Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Back To FLAG

Back To The Future
For Love And Glory
For Love And Glory II

These links gather together the previous posts on FLAG (For Love And Glory) (New York, 2003) by Poul Anderson. Experience of blogging shows that a close rereading, which will begin soon, will generate more posts.

Chapter I, paragraph 1, on p. 11, does not reveal that this narrative will have a science fictional content. Lissa and Karl, walking out of a wood towards a river, see in midstream the iridescent curved top of a twenty-meter long, five-meter wide, unidentified artifact.

However, the second paragraph gives us the context:

"But there were no native sophonts anywhere around this star. Scant though exploration had been in the seven Terran years since the system was first visited, that much was certain."

Of all the genres tackled by Poul Anderson, we have narrowed down to hard sf, almost certainly with faster than light interstellar travel. Before the end of p. 11, Karl gives us some surprises:

he refers to "'...the Orcelin civilization...,'" thus strongly suggesting a multi-species context;
he points with his tail;
his language is mostly inaudible to Lissa but the translator on her backpack renders it into Anglay;
he is "...a huge creature..."

So those were not a woman and a man walking out of the wood. A visual medium would have shown us this immediately - unless the focus had initially been on Lissa and had then pulled back to make us aware of Karl's physical characteristics. If enough of us think about how these texts might be filmed, then maybe some of them will be.

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