Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Livewell Street

Copied from Poul Anderson Appreciation, 11 Nov 2014.

Any fictional series can make a fictitious place seem real by presenting it as a constant backdrop of the characters' activities:

Conan Doyle has 221b, Baker St, and Victorian/Edwardian London;

Poul and Karen Anderson have the city of Ys;

Poul Anderson has Manse Everard's New York apartment.

Although Livewell Street appears only twice in a single novel, Poul Anderson's The People Of The Wind, its fictitious ontological status is comparable to that of the other places listed. This street is in the city of Centauri on the Gulf of Centaurs on the planet Avalon in the Domain of Ythri. Christopher Holm and Tabitha Falkayn walk down Livewell Street. They see:

barges on an oily, littered canal;
dingy, ten- or twelve-storied buildings;
glaring signs for drink, food and fun;
ground vehicles and twelve kinds of pedestrians - one of Anderson's descriptive lists.

Sounds and smells are also listed. Chris calls the street a sty; Tabitha calls it fun. She insists that the Founder wanted nothing but freedom, not a purer way of life.

Later, an Ythrian flies above the Livewell Street canal. When the Terrans strike, she burns and falls into a burning house beside the boiling canal.

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