Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Infinity In Imagination

There is an infinity of parallel universes, at least in the imagination. Having discussed Poul Anderson's Three Hearts And Three Lions, we will make two sideways moves:

first, to the same universe but written by another author;
secondly, to a different universe by yet another author.

We discussed Harry Turtledove's sequel to Three Hearts... here but that was over two years ago and it is time to reread that story. At the very end of Three Hearts..., Holger searches bookshops for grimoires, treatises on magic, hoping to learn the spell that will take him back to the Carolingian universe. In A Midsummer Tempest, he has been traveling between universes but at random and Valeria Matuchek is helping him to get direction. That is our last sight of either character in Poul Anderson's works.

In Turtledove's sequel, Holger finds his way to the Carolingian universe but too late for Alianora who is now married with a grownup daughter. Are we happy with that outcome? I am not sure and will reread.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I preferred the Holger we see in A MIDSUMMER TEMPEST, when he was still young (actually, rejuvenated by Morgan le Fay) and hopeful of soon getting back home to the Carolingian universe and Alianora. But I did find Turtledove's story showing us a Holger and Alianora who had failed to rejoin each other soon interesting and worth reading. My chief criticism being to wonder if Turtledove minimized too far Holger's role as the Defender. Given his "magical connections" and the assistance given by Valeria, Holger should either have soon returned home or compelled to somehow wait generations or centuries before being able to do so.

By contrast, I preferred S.M. Stirling's Time Patrol story. I was esp. interested in the glimpses we see of what Austria-Hungary might have become if the Sarajevo assassination had been prevented. Altho I'm a bit doubtful of Austria-Hungary becoming the LEADING partner in an alliance with Germany. I think a world without the Sarajevo assassination might have seen Austria-Hungary being either the rival or non allied independent neighbor of Germany.