Sunday, 28 September 2014


Copied from Poul Anderson Appreciation, 22 May 2014.

Let's try to get a better grasp of what Didonians looks like. Flandry sees what initially resemble rhinoceroses but, on closer examination:

each of these "nogas" does have the size, general build and horned nose of a rhino;
but their skin is nearly hairless, slate-blue and smooth;
they have no tails;
their ears are big and fan-like;
the shoulders extend sideways as small platforms;
when a goose-like "krippo" and an ape-like "ruka" sit on the platforms and join their "tongues" to the noga's extensible "tentacles," then and only then is a rational Didonian present.

As with other complicated situations described by Anderson, I had remembered in a general way how tripartite Didonian consciousness works; however, the details have become clearer through writing an account of them. Each complete Didonian has partial memories of experiences of other such entities that its members have temporarily participated in. Thus, their concept of self cannot possibly be anything like ours and they say things like:

"Make oneness.
"I/we: Feet belonging to Guardian of North Gate and others who can be, to Raft Farer and Woe who will no longer be..."
-Poul Anderson, Young Flandry (New York, 2010), p. 369.

The novel begins like that without any explanation but it all makes sense if we persevere.

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