Saturday, 4 October 2014

The Winged Cross

Copied from Poul Anderson Appreciation, 19 May 2012.

The Winged Cross, a tower in Chicago Integrate, is connected to other towers by skyways. Aircars fly between them and cabs or flitters land on the roof where there is a garden and a penthouse belonging to Nicholas van Rijn. Several characters visit him there as also in his palatial Djakarta office and in his mansion on Kilimanjaro.

Interesting background details, for example about a character's residence(s), accumulate over the course of a series, possibly the most famous being certain rooms in Baker St. In Poul Anderson's works, another striking example is the New York apartment of Manson Everard of the Time Patrol.

Later in the future history featuring van Rijn, we learn that van Rijn's protege, David Falkayn, had lived with his family in a house on First Island in the Hesperian Sea on the colony planet Avalon but, because Anderson could not possibly write all the details of such a long fictitious history, we learn about this residence only long after Falkayn's death. An interesting exercise for the reader is to reread the van Rijn stories to uncover whatever details are revealed about the Winged Cross.

Addendum, 20 May 2012: Colorful details about the penthouse on the Winged Cross: several sources reveal that it has a live butler, an expanse of trollcat rug and a wall that can be rendered transparent giving a good view of the spires and towers of Chicago Integrate. Van Rijn reclines in a lounger drinking beer and does not stand to greet guests. His height as well as his width would overwhelm them.

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