The Van Rijn Method by Poul Anderson
Poul Anderson was a prolific author in fantasy, science fiction and historical fiction. A couple of years ago I read one of his last novels, Mother of Kings, a historical work based on the life of the tenth century Norse queen Gunnhild. The prose requires a bit of patience on the reader’s part but both the subject and style of that book appealed to me. In science fiction Anderson is probably best known for his work in the long running Technic civilization setting. Between 1951 and 1985 Anderson wrote countless novels and stories in this universe. Baen has collected these in seven omnibus editions with The Van Rijn Method being the first.
Although the Technic civilization stories share the same setting, there is no overarching story; all the works in this volume can be read independently. The editor, Hank Davies, has chosen to order the stori... Read More
Poul Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during one of the Golden Ages of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and a prodigious number of short stories. He received numerous awards for his writing, including seven Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards. Anderson received a degree in physics from the University of Minnesota in 1948. He married Karen Kruse in 1953. They had one daughter, Astrid, who is married to science fiction author Greg Bear. Anderson was the sixth President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America from 1972-1973.
The Polesotechnic League (Technic Civlization) — (1956-2010) These are Baen’s omnibus editions of the Technic Civilization Saga. The Buck Starts Here! Think there’s an unbridgeable gulf between human and alien thought Not so! There’s a common tongue, all right — and Nicholas Van Rijn speaks it fluently: TRADE. For behind the buffoonish blarney and bawdy bonhomie of the Falstaffian Van Rijn is a man who gets things done. A born wheeler-dealer who usually leaves both sides better off in the bargain. (While pocketing a hefty cut of the profits himself, of course!) With The Man Who Counts and a passel of other tales included, this is the first volume set to contain the complete cycle of “Polesotechnic League” books and stories by transcendently-gifted science fiction master (how does seven Hugos and three Nebula Awards strike you ) Poul Anderson – and starring Nicholas Van Rijn, his most famous character of all!
The Van Rijn Method by Poul Anderson
David Falkayn: Star Trader by Poul Anderson
David Falkayn: Star Trader is the second in a series of seven books collecting the writings of Anderson in his Technic Civilization universe. Publisher Bean decided to publish them in order of internal chronology, which is not the order in which they were written. In the first instalment, The van Rijn Method, we see humanity's first exploration of the universe, the origins of the Technic Civilization and the formation of the Polesotechnic League, a mercantile organisation that soon acquires vast fortunes and political influence beyond that of a mere government. In this book the Polesotechnic League is at the height of its power. The seven works collected in this volume mostly deal with the exploits of members of the league. Most notably Nicholas van Rijn and David Falkyan.
“Territory” (1961), the opening story of the collection, set... Read More
Rise of the Terran Empire by Poul Anderson
Rise of the Terran Empire is the third in a series of seven books collecting all of Poul Anderson's writings in the Technic civilization setting. The stories are presented by internal chronology and in this book we have reached the boundary between the two eras Anderson set most of these stories in: the time of the Polesotechnic league (Nicolas van Rijn and David Falkayn) and the era of the Terran Empire (Dominic Flandry). The previous two books contained quite a few pieces of short fiction but this third tome includes two full novels with room left over for four shorter works. One of these, “Sargasso of Lost Starships,” originally published in Planet Stories, appears for the first time in book form, so if you are a completist this is a must have.
The collection opens with the 1977 novel Mirkheim. It features both Falkayn an... Read More
Young Flandry by Poul Anderson
Young Flandry is part four in Baen's project to publish all of Anderson's work in the Technic Civilization in chronological order. The cover of this book is so hideous that I almost gave up on this project. After reading the first three, none of which were graced by particularly good cover art, I thought it would be a shame to give up now though. In part three, Rise of the Terran Empire, we witnessed the last adventures of Nicolas van Rijn and David Falkayn, marking the end of the Polesotechnic league era of Anderson's future history. We also see humanity slip into a dark age and witness the rise of the Terran Empire. Most of the remaining stories in the Technic civilization is set In this Terran Empire phase of history. As the title of the book suggests, a new hero enters the stage. Dominic Flandry.
Young Flandry contains ... Read More
Captain Flandry by Poul Anderson
Captain Flandry: Defender of the Terran Empire is the fifth part in Baen's project to collect all the stories in Anderson's Technic Civilization and publish them by internal chronology. Three of the previous four books centred on the characters of Nicolas van Rijn and David Falkayn. In book four, aptly named Young Flandry, a new hero takes over. It is graced by one of the most horrific covers I've come across although Captain Flandry is giving it a run for its money. This cover even got the attention of the bad cover art blog Good Show Sir! I suppose it is the content that counts however, so let's have a look at that.
Captain Flandry contains six stories — one full novel and five shorter works, including the first Flandry story ever p... Read More
Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight of Terra by Poul Anderson
Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight of Terra is the sixth part in Baen's project to publish all of Poul Anderson's works in the Technic Civilization universe in chronological order. This edition is again marred by some truly horrific cover art. I have a hard time deciding which of the volumes with Flandry in the title has the worst cover. I guess Baen is trying to emphasize the James Bond is space image of Flandry but it could have been done a bit more tastefully. Can you see yourself reading this on the train going home from work? I'm going to have to keep this cover carefully hidden from visitors. Let’s get back to the actual content. This volume contains three full length novels as well as well as a short story. The most interesting piece was the last novel in the collection, A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows.
The... Read More
Flandry's Legacy by Poul Anderson
Flandry's Legacy is the conclusion to Baen's project to publish all Anderson's works in the Technic Civilization in chronological order. In total the series covers seven volumes and over 3,000 pages, all published between 1951 and 1985. This last volume contains two novels and four shorter pieces that cover almost four millennia in Anderson's future history. I must admit that after reading the previous volume, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Kinight of Terra, I suffered from a bit of a Flandry overdose. I'm not a huge fan of this character, it turns out. In this volume, Flandry makes his final appearance before Anderson takes us into the Long Night and out the other end. I had high hopes for this last part in the sage and indeed, I enjoyed the last stories in the collection a lot.
The collection opens with the last novel in which Flandry is the mai... Read More
Holger Danske — (1961-1974) Publisher: Holger Carlsen, wounded in Nazi-occupied Denmark, awakens to find himself in a magical land of knights, dragons, and sorcerers.
Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson
Chosen for inclusion in both David Pringle's Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels and Cawthorn & Moorcock's Fantasy: The 100 Best Books, Three Hearts and Three Lions had long been on my "must read someday" list. This compactly written epic of "hard fantasy" was first serialized in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1953 and released in an expanded book format in 1961. Author Poul Anderson was seemingly well suited to write this tale. The son of Scan... Read More
The King of Ys by Poul Anderson
"I remember Ys, though I have never seen her."
The King of Ys is a historical fantasy — it is set in our world just before the fall of the Roman Empire and it mixes in the legend of the mythical city of Ys which was built below sea level on the coast of Brittany. Many of the characters in The King of Ys (Roman emperors, Christian saints, etc) are based on legendary and real historical figures and Poul and Karen Anderson include plenty of footnotes which explain the legend of Ys and the culture and religion of the 5th century.
In Roma Mater, we meet Gaius Valerius Gratillonius, a Roman centurion stationed at Hadrian's Wall. Because of his loyalty to would-be-emperor Magnus Clemens Maximus, the commander of the Roman tro... Read More
Brain Wave by Poul Anderson
Poul Anderson’s Brain Wave has a great premise — for millennia, unknown to scientists, the Earth has been under the influence of some sort of field that dampens the speed of neurons in the cortex. But now the Earth has suddenly passed out of the field and immediately neurons start working faster, making everyone’s IQs (man and animal) escalate dramatically. This sounds like a good thing to me, but perhaps it’s not in Poul Anderson’s mind. In his story, human civilization changes drastically, and mostly not in positive ways.
The story follows several characters: a physicist named Peter Corinth; Sheila, his timid and dull-witted housewife; a mentally-handicapped farmhand named Archie Brock; and an official named Felix Mandelbaum. Each of these characters experiences a large jump in IQ which causes a change in their circumstances. Each of them deals with this change differently as Poul Anderson... Read More
The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson
In fantasy today it’s not uncommon to hear the words “dark” and “gritty” applied to such writers as David Gemmell, Paul Kearney, Joe Abercrombie, George R.R. Martin, or Brian Ruckley. Each is willing to kill favorite characters, portray morally ambiguous heroes, and elucidate more than one gory scene, and readers have taken a shine to their rather anti-Tolkien view. But these writers’ stories are still not as dark as Poul Anderson’s 1954 classic The Broken Sword. Bleak in outcome and tone, Anderson’s short epic makes... Read More
Hrolf Kraki’s Saga by Poul Anderson
Poul Anderson took the Viking saga of Hrolf Kraki and crafted this magnificent fantasy novel from the legendary king's story. Hrolf was a sort of Arthurian equivalent in the northern folk tales and myths, but Anderson brought him to life in this novelized retelling of his exploits.
Like much of northern mythology the story is dark in spots, dealing with such themes as murderous sibling rivalry, incestuous relationships, and the everyday brutality that must have been common in the era that was rightly called "the Dark Ages." Even so, Anderson captured the heroic nature of the story, as well as the courageous outlook of the original saga recorders.
Hrolf Kraki’s Saga is a myth retold, rather than historical fiction, although the opening framework sequence is set in more recent historical times with a woman being asked to recount the old myths to a royal... Read More
Psychotechnic League — (1956-1982) Publisher: There was Joachim, captain of the Nomad star ship Peregrine, and ruler of the Peregrine clan. There were also all the ship’s officers and crew and their entire families. Bound to no world, the better part of their lives spent on the great ships, the Nomads were something like the gypsies who once roamed the lands of Earth, and something like the Vikings who once fared Earth’s seas — but different from any human society known before. Once a year, the captains of the Nomad ships met at their secret planet called Rendezvous, where the bylaws and intricate agreements of Nomad society were made and enforced. And this year, Peregrine Joachim had a bombshell to toss into the midst of his colleagues. Five Nomad ships had disappeared, vanished completely in an uninhabited area of space. It appeared to be no accident!
Time Patrol — (1961-1990) Publisher: Forget minor hazards like nuclear bombs. The discovery of time travel means that everything we know, anyone we know, might not only vanish, but never even have existed. Against that possibility stand the men and women of the Time Patrol, dedicated to preserving the history they know and protecting the future from fanatics, terrorists, and would-be dictators who would remold the shape of reality to suit their own purposes. But Manse Everard, the Patrol’s finest temporal trouble-shooter, bears a heavy burden. The fabric of history is stained with human blood and suffering which he cannot, must not do anything to alleviate, lest his tampering bring disastrous alterations in future time. Everard must leave the horrors of the past in place, lest his tampering — or that of the Patrol’s opponents, the Exaltationists — erase all hope of a better future, and instead bring about a future filled with greater horrors than any recorded by past history at its darkest and most foul.
Harvest of Stars — (1992-1997) Publisher: Winner of seven Hugo and three Nebula Awards, Poul Anderson is one of science fiction’s supreme masters. In “Harvest of Stars,” his most ambitous novel to date, Earth lies crushed in the grip of totalitarianism. To save her planet, his heroine, Kyra Davis is sent on a mission to liberate our last bastion of freedom and rescue its legendary leader. Her bold adventure will sweep her from Earth’s rebel enclaves to the decadent court of an exotic lunar colony, from the virtual realities of biotech and artificial intelligence to a brave new world menaced by a dying star.
Operation Otherworld — (1971-1999) Publisher: In a war waged against Black Magic, the fact that Steve is a werewolf and his wife is a highly skilled witch is not unusual. But their adventures prove very unusual, even for their world, when they are given the task of neutralizing an enemy’s ultimate weapon — the world’s most powerful demon.
Last Viking — (1980) With Karen Anderson. The saga of Harald Harrede. “He was a huge man, fully seven feet tall and no one could stand before him in battle or sport…His manner was often curt and haughty, though he know how to win to him those whom he liked…and he could never hear enough of far lands.” “So wide a world and so short a span to wander it!”
Vault of the Ages — (1952) Archaeologists, studying the past, are handicapped by the fact that relics are usually few and in poor condition. Often, one is not even sure where to look for them. Out of such finds, from tombs, ruined cities, swamps, deserts, and any other place where men of the past have left some trace of themselves, the archaeologist tries to build up a picture of these men’s lives and civilizations. but there are great gaps in our knowledge and probably always will be. For Instance, we cannot yet read the inscriptions left by the ancient Cretans, and so are in the dark about many features of their high civilization…
The War of Two Worlds — (1953) Earth must choose — The Martians or the Monsters!
The Long Way Home — (1955) This book has also been published as No World of Their Own. “You can’t go home again. For home is not merely a place but a situation – and when that situation changes home is no more.” It’s classic Anderson where the characters are just as if not more important to the story as the ray guns and starships.
The Enemy Stars — (1959) aka We Have Fed Our Seas. Publisher: The black star was not part of Creation. It was a fossil sun, left over from a Universe that had died before this one was born, circled by an iron tomb that had once been a planet. When the black star called, four men went to the galaxy’s edge. Only one came back. But he did not come back alone…
The Golden Slave — (1960) 100 B.C. The Cimbrian hordes galloped across the dawn of history and clashed in screaming battle against the mighty Roman legions. Eodan, son of Chief Boierek, has been on the war campaign for many years. The Cimbrain army has become a hungry homeless pagan tribe. Their sworn enemy, the Romans, they have battled against gloriously. But for all the burning towns, the new-caught women weeping, the wine drunk, the gold lifted, the Cimbri did not find a home. Eodan, the proud young chieftain, had been caught and sold into slavery, his infant son murdered and his beautiful wife, Hwicca, taken as a concubine. But the whips and slave chains could not break the spirit of this fiery pagan giant who fought, seduced and connived his way to a perilous freedom to rescue the woman he loved. A struggle that would make him a lover, pirate, commander, and in the end the struggle would make him a legend!
Rogue Sword — (1960) Publisher: In the flames of the dying Roman Empire, his flashing blade cut a bloody path to power.
The High Crusade — (1960) In the year of grace 1345, as Sir Roger Baron de Tourneville is gathering an army to join King Edward III in the war against France, a most astonishing event occurs: a huge silver ship descends through the sky and lands in a pasture beside the little village of Ansby in northeastern Lincolnshire. The Wersgorix, whose scouting ship it is, are quite expert at taking over planets, and having determined from orbit that this one was suitable, they initiate standard world-conquering procedure. Ah, but this time it’s no mere primitives the Wersgorix seek to enslave—they’ve launched their invasion against free Englishmen! In the end, only one alien is left alive—and Sir Roger’s grand vision is born. He intends for the creature to fly the ship first to France to aid his King, then on to the Holy Land to vanquish the infidel. Unfortunately, he has not allowed for the treachery of the alien pilot, who instead takes the craft to his home planet, where, he thinks, these upstart barbarians will have no choice but to surrender. But that knavish alien little understands the indomitable will and clever resourcefulness of Englishmen, no matter how great the odds against them.
Twilight World: A Science Fiction Novel of Tomorrow’s Children — (1961) Publisher: The time is shortly after the great nuclear spasm: in all the world there is nothing but ruin, famine, barbarism. Worst of all, residual radiation is causing an ever increasing rate of abnormal births. The human race is doomed to slow extinction, but among the ever increasing number of mutants a few are not less but more than what came before.” And these. “An apocalyptic science fiction novel of post-World War Three and ‘Tomorrow’s Children’ surviving on a planet devastated by nuclear bombs, and where the number of mutant children caused by radiation is constantly increasing. Post-holocaust story. By an accident of genetics, the mutants became the precursors of a new master race.
After Doomsday — (1962) Publisher: Earth has been destroyed. Which alien race had committed genocide, killing a planet in the process? The Kandemir were interested in salvage rights. The Xo had provided two Earth nations with weapons that could do the job. The Vorlak, an essentially peaceful race, nevertheless had made a firm treaty with the Russians. The only surviving humans were the astronauts aboard the spaceships Benjamin Franklin and Europa. Men and women together, they would re-establish mankind – but first they must unmask their enemies and defeat them.
The Makeshift Rocket — (1962) Publisher: Knud Axel Syrup, chief engineer of the spaceship Mercury Girl, sat and drank his favourite beer and thought about the coming war he was so anxious to avoid. For Grendel, the planetoid on which he was stranded, had been occupied by a band of fiery Irish revolutionaries. And once the rival Anglians discovered this, their response would be speedy and violent. Then, as Herr Syrup shook up a bottle of brew and let the foam shoot out of its top, he realized suddenly what cold be done to get him off Grendel. And so came about the marvelous spaceship, built of beer kegs, bound by gunk, upholstered with pretzel boxes, and powered by the mighty reaction forces of malted brew!
Shield — (1963) Publisher: Koskinen had returned to earth with a strange new “Shield” – a device which enclosed the wearer in a force shield which absorbed all energies below a certain level. Light could come through the Shield, but no weapon known to man could penetrate it Koskinen had developed the Shield in collaboration with the Martians. From the moment of his return to earth he was in deadly danger. His own country sent men to kill him to prevent the Shield from falling into enemy hands Soon the whole civilised world was searching for this one man – a man armed with the greatest potential military weapon mankind had ever seenthe only question was which power would possess the Shield as its very own?
Three Worlds to Conquer — (1964) Publisher: Three worlds: Jupiter where no human could live but where men had strange allies and stranger enemies! Ganymede where human settlers lay helpless under the guns of a spaceship directed by a madman! Earth freed from a planet-wide tyranny, but facing total destruction from space! The destinies of these worlds were strangely linked and in the hands of a man sentenced to instant death!
The Star Fox — (1965) Publisher: Earthmen and Aleriona have met in space and neither side can afford to let the other get too strong. The Aleriona have captured the human outpost, New Europe, and claim that all the inhabitants were killed. The World Federation on Earth seems committed to peace at any price, but there are those, and ex-navy Captain Gunnar Heim is one of them, who know that appeasement will only lead to further Alerion encroachment, and he passionately believes that there must be a showdown now, before it is too late. Heim and his crew of volunteers take off from Earth in the Star Fox and start to fit out for their hit-and-run battle.
The Corridors of Time — (1965) Publisher: Storm was a key leader of the Wardens, who were struggling for supremacy over the Rangers. But the Wardens and the Rangers were from centuries past, and it was only by choosing the appropriate gate in the time tunnel that Lockridge could enter their warring worlds. It was a war fought simultaneously with spears and lethal atomic guns…
World Without Stars — (1966) Publisher: Originally published in 1966, in Analog, as ‘The Ancient Gods.’ A spaceship crashes on an Earth-like planet in the throes of a world war. A normal man would have lain down and died, but to Hugh Valland the task before him seemed simple enough. It was necessary to organize a revolution by a group of primitives against their telepathic overlords; build with the help of those same primitives a spaceship virtually from scratch; contact, via that spaceship, a third group of aliens, and enlist their aid in returning home across the galactic abyss. At worst it would take a lifetime… and Valland’s one true love, Mary O’Meara was waiting.
Tau Zero — (1970) Publisher: Poul Anderson’s book Tau Zero stands out in the genre in large part because it does precisely the thing that one so rarely sees in science fiction: it takes a keen interest in the emotional lives of the characters in the novel, which the novel combines this with a general fascination for all things scientific. In Tau Zero, these two often competing themes in the genre work together with a synergy that makes the novel much more than just another deep space adventure story. From practically the very first page, Tau Zero sets the scientific realities in dramatic tension with the very real emotional and psychological states of the travelers: you have the time factor and their emotional response to the consequence of traveling at this high rate of speed and the time that has passed. This tension is a dynamic that Anderson explores with great success over the course of the novel as fifty crew-members settle in for the long journey together. While they are a highly-trained team of scientists and researchers and therefore professionals, they are also a community of individuals, each of them trying to create for him or herself a life in a whole new space (or literally, in space). It isn’t too long, however, before the voyage takes a turn for the worse. The ship passes through a small, uncharted cloud-like nebula that makes it impossible to decelerate the ship. The only hope rather, is to do the opposite and speed up. But acceleration towards and within the speed of light means that time outside the spaceship passes even more rapidly, sending the crew deeper into space and also, further into an unknown future.
The Dancer from Atlantis — (1971) Publisher: During a cruise to Japan, Duncan Reid is suddenly transported into the distant past, where he and three other time travelers try to find the way home. By the author of The Boat of a Million Years. Nominated for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature.
Operation Chaos — (1971) Publisher: In a war waged against Black Magic, the fact that Steve is a werewolf and his wife is a highly skilled witch is not unusual. But their adventures prove very unusual, even for their world, when they are given the task of neutralizing an enemy’s ultimate weapon — the world’s most powerful demon.
The Byworlder — (1971) Publisher: Skip Wayburn, an itinerant artist working his way through the byworld subculture, teams up with Dr. Yvonne Canter in order to communicate with the alien ship that has been orbiting the Earth for three years. Nominated for a Nebula award.
There Will Be Time — (1972) Publisher: Jack Havig, a man born with the ability to move at will through the past and the future of mankind, must save the world from a doomed future of tyranny before his time runs out. Nominated for a Hugo award.
The People of the Wind — (1973) Publisher: Like two giants the old enemies faced each other across the reaches of the galaxy — the Terran Empire and the Ythrian Domain. Terra was a Leviathan, encroaching ever further among the stars, promising peace and prosperity — but at the price of freedom. Ythri was smaller, but an empire in its own right, peopled by birdlike beings with a civilisation and intellect that easily matched Terra’s own. Nominated for a Hugo and Nebula award.
Fire Time — (1974) Publisher: The planet Ishtar has three suns: Bel, the “real” sun, the Life Giver. Ea, the Companion who warms the Ishtaran summers. Anu, the Demon Star. Mostly Anu is so far away that it is just a light in the Ishtaran sky. But once every thousand years it comes close. It is then that the barbarians must flee their scorched lands, and civilizations fall. The natives call this Fire Time. Always before, its coming had meant the death of a civilization. But this time, the humans are here, and they have brought with them their magical technology. This time things could have been different. Too bad that the humans are suddenly faced with a war of their own, their own Fire Time. Nominated for a Hugo award.
The Winter of the World — (1976) Publisher: Thousands of years from now, after a new Ice Age has reduced our world to frozen ruins, new civilizations and cultures arise from the Ice. But as the people of tomorrow slowly uncover the lost technology of the past, they also rediscover war, conquest, diplomacy… and betrayal. While the might Rahidain-Barammian Empire expands across the globe, Josserek Derrain, uncover agent for the freedom-loving Seafolk, must find a way to save his people from the Empire’s grasp. His best hope is an alliance with the Rogaviki, a wild and nomadic race whose women are rumored to cast an unbreakable spell on any man who dares seek them out. Between barbarians and aristocrats, spied and soldiers, the battle lines are drawn in the ultimate conflict to determine who will rule over...The Winter of the World.
The Avatar — (1978) Publisher: In the immeasurable past a mysterious alien race known as The Others left mankind a challenging legacy, a ‘gate’ to the unexplored reaches of the stars. Humanity has utilized the gate to painstakingly colonize the Phoebus star system but has left the rest of the galaxy unexplored. In the midst of turbulent political upheaval on Earth, the exploratory ship Emissary leaves through the gate on a voyage of discovery. When the Emissary returns ahead of schedule the Social Welfare Party on Earth impounds the ship and imprisons its crew – and forbids all future space exploration. Dan Broderson, an entrepreneur and adventurer, commandeers a commercial spaceship from his own company and travels to Earth to find the Emissary. He locates the ship, confounds its captors and rescues some of the explorers, including the first alien to visit the solar system. But Broderson has to flee through the gate unprepared, to become a wanderer among the stars in search of The Others. They alone have the knowledge that will enable his ship to return home.
The Merman’s Children — (1979) Publisher: In the waning years of the Middle Ages, before Christendom had completely scoured the world of magic, both Faery and Man lived on Europe’s shores. This is the story of those last days: of the halfling children of the Liri king, who were of both realms but chose the one we call the other; of how they schemed & fought for survival, hounded from the Baltic to the ice caves of Greenland to the Mediterranean coast; of how they loved & how they died. It is the epic master piece, the adventure at once erotic, violent and magnificently sad, that Poul Anderson has always wanted to write.
The Demon of Scattery — (1979) With Mildred Downey Broxon. Publisher: Hear then of a time when the Lochlannach first came a viking into Eire, of a time when the gentle Christos was new-come to the land and an elder magic flickered still – and once in a great while, under just the right conditions and with a very special curse, might flare up into full life again.
The Devil’s Game — (1980) Publisher: In the contest for souls, what disembodied voice whispers the rules of The Devil’s Game… Making a bargain with the devil to act as a liaison between the underworld and the human world, Sunderland Haverner is called upon by the mysterious Samael to bring seven specially chosen people to the Republic of Santa Ana.
Conan the Rebel — (1980) In the Conan series. Publisher: A grand adventure of the mighty thewed barbarian, from one of Fantasy’s biggest names Conan, The name has inspired generations, one that resounds through time immemorial. Yet it all began with a handful of stories from Robert E. Howard. In the decades since, there have been feature films, television and comic book series, and numerous spin-off novels. In 1979, Poul Anderson—winner of a staggering eight Hugo and three Nebula Awards—wrote what is regarded as one of the finest adventures in the canon of Conan: Conan the Rebel. Conan the barbarian and Belit, his raven-haired beauty, lead a band of savage pirates striving to free Belit’s people from the iron grip of an evil reptile god and its cruel minions. Striking at the heart of tyranny, Conan must break the chains of oppression before eternal darkness claims them all.
New America — (1982) Publisher: The benevolent, paternalistic World State regarded the freedom-minded Jeffersonians as a minor embarrassment whose violent elimination would cause more disruption than their demise would merit. So both sides were happy when the chance came for voluntary exile to a distant planet. But two hundred years later the less benevolent descendant of the World State that had let them go was to decide that the cosmos was not big enough to hold both it and a free people
Maurai and Kith — (1982) Publisher: The Sky People have come to enforce their vision of civilization on the People of the Sea, who have created a society based on conservation and the integrity of life.
Orion Shall Rise — (1983) Publisher: After nuclear weapons ravaged the Earth, only Skyholm, a huge solar-powered station floating above Europe, remains in possession of high technology. But as Skyholm is seized by a religious faction, a young noble escapes to the ground below and joins a group who conspire to use the power of the atom, outlawed for centuries, to regain the lost heritage of space flight.
No Truce with Kings — (1986) Publisher: No Truce with Kings spins the tale of a uniquely feudal future America at war with itself. As the battles and intrigues multiply, the most perceptive generals begin to realize that their society is being socially engineered by a mysterious secret society. The Longest Voyage chronicles the adventures of an old-fashioned hero. A latter day Columbus, on a faraway planet, builds an ocean going ship and sails away in order to prove that his world is round. But the new civilizations he discovers on a distant shore worship something far more potent than his leaky wooden caravel-a crashed starship that holds the key to the entire future history of their race. Poul Anderson’s evocative stories draw freely upon the founding conventions of fantasy. Echoes of space operas and epic sagas resound in his work. In 1953 Anderson earned a degree in Physics, and exploded upon the literary scene in 1954 with the publication of 19 stories and 3 novels. His familiarity with Scandinavian languages, literature and traditions characterizes his stories, which have earned him 5 Hugo awards.
The Boat of a Million Years — (1989) Publisher: Others have written science fiction on the theme of immortality, but in The Boat of a Million Years, Poul Anderson made it his own. Early in human history, certain individuals were born who live on — unaging, undying — through the centuries and millennia. This story follows them over two thousand years, up to our time and beyond — to the promise of utopia, and to the challenge of the stars. A milestone in modern science fiction and a New York Times Notable Book when first published in 1989, this is one of a great writer’s finest works.
Inconstant Star — (1990) When humans and kzinti met, the kzinti introduced themselves with a scream-and-leap of joyous anticipation. But — surprise! — the monkey boys and girls of Planet Earth not only fought back but won! How, how could the Warrior Race have fallen prey to slinking cowardly (albeit clever) leaf-eaters who didn’t even possess weapons? After long hard thought the Kzin have come up with an answers: the first time they didn’t leap hard or fast enough! After all, no matter how clever the humans may be, they won’t stand a chance if it all happens so suddenly that monkey cleverness never has a chance to come into play. So when Eric Saxtorph and his crew stumble across the secret of the Great Attack the kzinti are more than a little upset. And when kzinti are upset, you know what they do…
War of the Gods — (1997) Publisher: The story of the great King Hadding is one of the darkest and most violent to come down to us from the old North. Hadding was raised by giants far from his rightful throng, as his father, a Danish King, was slain shortly after Hadding’s birth. But the times comes when Hadding feels he must reclaim his legitimate place in the land of the old North. He must endure ferocious battles, the charms of voluptuous Valkyries, and a War of the Gods to rival Armageddon.
Starfarers — (1998) Poul Anderson, one of science fiction’s most treasured visionaries, returns with a new masterpiece. Starfarers is the story of an expedition into the far reaches of the galaxy, where answers to mankind’s greatest questions await. The saga begins when evidence of an advanced civilization is discovered by SETI astronomers. “Trails” observed in the sky are thought to be from starships traveling at the speed of light, an enigma that spurs scientific minds until this breakthrough is achieved by mankind as well. An expedition is then mounted and an eclectic team of scientists chosen to journey into the sector where the intelligent life is allegedly located. But because the destination of the starship, Envoy, and her crew is 60,000 light-years away, the time required to reach the point of origin of the signals and return is 120,000 years — longer than Homo sapiens has been on Earth. And though the crew is ready to face the ramifications of such a trek, no one is prepared for what awaits them at the outer edge of the cosmos — or back at the planet they once called home. Starfarers is a story of patience and immediacy, but most of all of courage. It is a saga for anyone who has ever felt the emptiness of life on Earth and found the missing substance in the spaces between the stars. Poul Anderson’s latest is the story of those who see the future in a clear night’s sky and are ready to journey into it armed with both insight and passion.
Operation Luna — (1999) Publisher: Ginny Greylock and Steve Matuckek are partners on an Earth quite unlike our own. Ginny ia a licensed witch and Steve is an engineer and werewolf. He works on a spacecraft out in the Arizona desert and takes part in a project that soon discovers there is life on the moon.
Genesis — (2000) Publisher: Astronaut Christian Brannock achieves his dream and explore the stars through technology that enables a human personality to be uploaded into a computer, achieving a hybrid immortality. Brannock returns to Earth billions of years later to check on strange anomalies. He and another hybrid upload, Laurinda, investigate Gaia, the supermind dominating the planet.
Mother of Kings — (2001) Publisher: Blending characters historical and mythological, science fiction and fantasy grandmaster Poul Anderson has crafted a novel of magic, mystery and the might of ancient nations to rival Marian Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon. In the tenth century, during the violent end of the Age of the Vikings, Gunhild, the daughter of a Norse Chieftan, is sent away to learn the magic of a pair of Shamans. She learns her lessons well, and uses her power to summon her hearts desire, Eirlik Blood-Ax. Gunhild’s magic is a powerful compliment to Eirik’s strength, but it is not enough to save him from death at the hands of his vicious rivals. Still, the sons they had will each become kings, and Gunhild’s own struggles are far from over.
For Love and Glory — (2003) Hugo and Nebula award winner Anderson incorporates two stories he wrote for the Asimov’s Universe series into this absorbing posthumous novel, a fast-paced space opera that never lets the reader forget that aliens are alien. At a time when nearly immortal humans have colonized the galaxy, various space-faring species commingle freely and the residents of Earth have become as alien to other humans as true ETs, an astronomical event that may affect all existence is about to take place. Unfortunately, only one set of aliens knows what that event is and their ruling dictatorship is hell-bent on keeping it that way. Lissa Windholm, an Earth woman with a spirit of adventure men find attractive, is determined to uncover the mystery and share the knowledge with everyone. Lissa and her partner Karl, a tyrannosaurus-like scientist, make some startling archeological discoveries on the planet Jonna about beings known as the Forerunners, but a psychologically scarred starship captain and an impressively ancient and profit-minded human rogue have other plans for the relics. Moving from one key sequence to another, Anderson omits much of the buildup and back story customary for such epic-scale SF, yet his protagonists and the worlds they explore always feel rich and real.
Selected Story Collections by Poul Anderson:
Hoka — (1957-1983) Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson. Publisher: The adventures of the Galaxy’s Zaniest Creatures… The incredible Hokas!