Friday, 19 February 2016

Traditions And Institutions

Poul Anderson, For Love And Glory (New York, 2003).

An Asborgian is identified by a personal name, a patronymic and the name of a House. Thus, Romon Kasperson Seafell converses with Lissa Davysdaughter Windholm.

When Romon suggests that Lissa dislikes the Seafell approach, she replies:

"'I don't hate it. A matter of taste. The communal versus the corporate style? ...They say diversity makes for a healthy society.'" (p.45)

I took this to mean that Seafell was communal whereas Windholm was corporate. See here. But maybe I got them the wrong way round? Later, Lissa refers to:

"'...a clutch of reckless commercialists like the Seafell.'" (p. 60)

When reading about a fictitious future society, we do not already know any background details and are entirely dependent on the unfolding narrative. The author can hint, conceal, imply etc but must eventually tell us enough for complete comprehension - at least for the current narrative. A skilfully written sequel can overturn some of our impressions.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

One thing I remembered about Hebo in FLAG was that he was, in his way, a pious Christian, even some kind of Catholic (and how that surprised Lissa). And that he attended services at a church closest to his beliefs called "NeoCatholic." Poul Anderson was something of a rarity, an SF author who took religion seriously and treated honest believers with respect. AND pointing out that religious believers would still exist in the future.

Unfortunately, Poul Anderson died before he might or could have further developed what we see in FLAG. In fact, the book was posthumously pub. two years after his death.