Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Last Viking Poul Anderson

Today would be the 83rd anniversary of the Birth of Poul Anderson, had the fates decreed it to be so, but Alas they felt it was time to sever his silver thread and send him to some other realm. One can only hope that he is currently entertaining Odin or Thor, or Zeus or Dagda or some other Deity of Mirth and Melancholies.

Writer of hundreds of Volumes, Founding member of SAGA, the " Swordsmen and Sorcerers Guild of America " Influence to dozens of writers who came after him, one of the few Writers who Micheal Moorecock, extricates his head from his own ass to actually praise.. (Except Micheal Moorecock of Course)

I first encountered Poul Anderson's fantasy writings when I began collecting the " Ballantine Adult Fantasy " series edited by Lin Carter, Anderson's "The Broken Sword" being Volume #24 in that series. I read it over the course of a single Saturday evening, It's a story of Orcs and Elves, Fairies, Norsemen and Gods, The Conversion to the new religion of Christianity by the Heathens and the effect of this change on the Gods and supernatural beings previously recognized by the people. But mostly its a story of Revenge. Originally written in 1954, Anderson re-wrote large portions of it for the reprint from 1971, the version I read. The Original version was released as volume #32 of the Gollancz Fantasy Masterworks series in the UK. I've not had the opportunity to read this version, but I am hopeful to one day.

I followed this up reading his Adaption of Rolf Kraki's Saga, Volume #62 of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series. Then his adaption/Extrapolation of Egils Saga and Heimskringla.. " Mother of Kings " written for Tor, its an extremely dense work written in the style of the Icelandic Sagas.. it covers around 50 years of the life of Gunnhild the wife of King Eric Blood-Axe of Norway among other kingdoms. Then I read his work " The War of the gods " and his three volume " The Last Viking ".. I've still got several of his to read, most notably the 4 volume " King of Ys "..

He is verbose and his style takes some getting used too, Some of it is prose of the utmost wonderfulness .. instantly transporting you to different worlds.. other parts clunk along like a steam train with square wheels. But the good by far outweighs the bad, and I never felt that I had to set myself goals for how many pages I needed to read each day to finish one of his books.

I've not read any of his Science Fiction, and I'm not likely too.. not really my cup of tea. Though his HOKA! Volumes with Gordon R. Dickson do look like fun.

So to Mr. Anderson I say Happy Birthday.

From Blogger Pictures

From Blogger Pictures

From Blogger Pictures

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