Monday, 5 December 2016

Immortals Meet

How often do the few immortals meet down the millennia in Poul Anderson's The Boat Of A Million Years? The meetings should all be listed here.

Neil Gaiman describes one such meeting. Anderson's immortals are science fictional, mutants, whereas Gaiman's are magical or supernatural: personified Death has agreed not to collect Hob Gadling and the Indian has eaten the fruit of life. When Mr Gadling boards the Sea Witch as a passenger, we have already met him so we know that he is immortal. When the Indian gentleman is apprehended as a stowaway, Gadling pays his passage to Liverpool. Later, the former stowaway, now a second passenger, tells a story about a king who ate the fruit of life and walked out into the rukh. Later again, we hear Gadling saying:

"...time, you don't owe me anything. There's few enough of us around. Least we can do is watch out for each other."
-Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Worlds' End (New York, 1994), p. 88.

Gaiman said in an interview that this story was him doing Kipling - doing it very well.

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