Friday, 12 September 2014

Archopolis And Earth In Flandry's Time II

Copied from Poul Anderson Appreciation, 25 January 2014.

We want to know more about Earth in Dominic Flandry's time but our information is limited to certain passages in Poul Anderson's texts. (I think that I speak for more Poul Anderson fans than just myself?) A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows begins with an unusually up front statement from the omniscient narrator:

"Every planet in the story is cold - even Terra, though Flandry came home on a warm evening of northern summer. There the chill was in the spirit."

- Poul Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (New York, 2012), p. 342.

The two opening words immediately establish for anyone who did not already know that this is a science fiction novel. And here is a first datum about Terra, that it is cold in spirit. When we have read the novel, we should pause to remember the other planets in the story:

Diomedes, previously visited by Nicholas van Rijn;
Dennitza, newly created for A Knight...;
Chereion, its environment postulated in earlier installments but here visited for the first and last time.

Regarding Earth, A Stone In Heaven clarifies that, although nothing has occurred to reduce the extent of the oceans, the land masses have become a single city although it is one that preserves many open green spaces. The urbanized areas consist of towers stretching around the planet. The urban nexus is the capital, Archopolis, where Sir Dominic, now a Vice Admiral, lives and works. He eats breakfast looking out onto a roof garden of Terrestrial and extraterrestrial flowers, beyond them two-century old towers and, above the towers, blue sky, white clouds and sparkling aircars.

Then, unfortunately, the text must return to the plot of the novel...

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