Poul Anderson

K. Riehl

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I think the best book he ever wrote is The Boat of a Million Years. He lost out to Hyperion by Dan Simmons for the Hugo in a fairly close vote.

He gives a history lesson and makes you see the world as an immortal would.
I like the character that goes around burying objects to prove a couple of hundred years later that he is not lying when he reveals his immortality. Also the various survival strategies that each immortal adopts as they move through the world.
 

JQH

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I liked "Boat of a Million Years" too. I wonder how much it influenced Neil Gaiman's creation of characters such as Hob Gadling in the "Sandman" graphic novels.
 

Connavar

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I think the best book he ever wrote is The Boat of a Million Years. He lost out to Hyperion by Dan Simmons for the Hugo in a fairly close vote.

He gives a history lesson and makes you see the world as an immortal would.
I like the character that goes around burying objects to prove a couple of hundred years later that he is not lying when he reveals his immortality. Also the various survival strategies that each immortal adopts as they move through the world.
So it is the story set in different times cause of the immortal character ?


It sounds interesting. I enjoyed The Broken Sword that i plan to read more of his soon.
 

Parson

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Con,

The short answer is "no." There is an overall story, but there is a lot of historical stuff as each character is revealed by his/her back story. For myself (a lover of history) the back stories were more interesting that the overall story.
 

GOLLUM

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I liked "Boat of a Million Years" too. I wonder how much it influenced Neil Gaiman's creation of characters such as Hob Gadling in the "Sandman" graphic novels.
Good question.

When I tee up my interview with Neil I'll ask him.
 
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steve12553

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I've read maybe three or four of his books over the last thirty years and had a pleasant feeling about them. (I do tend to be a little naive as to how certain authors fit into the Grand Scheme of Things) The thing that strikes me after all these years is a memory of a book called Operation Chaos. The book was about an alternate reality where magic interacted with the modern (at the time) world in a fairly strong and straight forward way. This very much reminds me of Jim Butcher's approach in his Dresden books. "Chaos" may be a source of inspiration.
 

Beamer

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Well I am proubly older then most of the posters and read Poul when I was young. I proubly read my first story by him as a preteen in a library Winston hardbound "Vault of the Ages" . I remember loveing the book and it proubly influenced my attitude towards his books. I am not one to over analyze a story, I simply read to enjoy. At the time I was buying and reading his books there was a lot less to choose from and science fiction was not written to be great literary works but simply as entertainment. I find in reading these forums that the posters tend to be critical over any flaws they find in a story rather then just appreciateing the tale itself. Alot of what I consider his best stories were written for a younger audience. I remember being a big fan of the Ensign Flandry novels and the Van Rijn books. And Three Hearts Three Lions one of his rare books in a fantasy vein was also good reading.

Just noticed Steve12533 mentioned Operation Chaos, another book which I remember fondly and it had a sequel Operation Luna. But as he mentions similar to the Dresden universe of Jim Butcher.
 

J-Sun

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Isn't he Greg Bear's father in law? As for Pohl i know he was a friend of Asimov thats about it. Pity they never collaborated.
Yep, Greg Bear married Astrid Anderson. If "they" are Pohl and Asimov, they actually did with one story found in The Early Asimov, called "The Little Man on the Subway".

Try Slave Ship, I read it years ago & I liked it.
That's Frederik Pohl, rather than Anderson, Poul. :)

Anyway, for me, put me down in the camp who loves Brain Wave and Tau Zero and the Flandry books. But the Flandry books are actually just a subset of the Polesotechnic League (whose primary focus is the trader Nicholas van Rijn) and Terran Empire stories (which focus on Flandry but include more) which form a sort of loose future history and most anything in it is great. Good news for those who haven't explored them yet is that Baen is or shortly will be repackaging them.

Other great ones are The Enemy Stars, The High Crusade - the story of a medieval village getting visited by an alien spaceship - and taking it over and conquering the stars :), After Doomsday, and so on.

Also a great short writer. Much of the future history is composed of short works and he wrote great stuff including over a half-dozen award winners like "The Queen of Air and Darkness" and things that didn't win awards like "Time Lag".

He had style without being a "stylist" and wrote the kind of science fiction that gives primacy to idea and deed over character and introspection, but was himself apparently a very thoughtful and kind writer who was esteemed by people regardless of differing opinions. I can see how his work wouldn't appeal to everybody but, as noted, he succeeded at a wide variety of types of writing and something of it could well appeal to many.
 

j d worthington

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He also had a rather varied set of stylistic approaches, from almost clinically precise to lyrical, depending. Though I've read relatively little of his work (considering the massive amount he wrote), I can't say I've ever not enjoyed or been entertained (and usually provoked into thought) by anything of his I've read....
 

Connavar

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Prose wise he makes me wonder how he can be so different. I have sampled his sf and read his fantasy The Broken Sword. One is precise sf prose and one is so stylised prose thats more like Vance.

I havent read a book of his to a finish since i own The Broken Sword but havent had the time to read it yet.

No matter how cool his urban fantasy books mentioned above is and how Broken Sword and other S&S of his are famous i will try his sf as soon as i can. Fantasy isnt above sf in my genre reading, i just get stuck on some fantasy authors :p'

Wondering about types of sf does he have books that are liked by his fans and isnt hard SF ?
 

Beamer

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Poul Anderson writings were quite varied. Most of his writing was science fiction but he threw in a few fantasies for good measure. He wrote some humerus books notably in collaboration with Gordon Dickson, the Hoka stories which were a lot of fun. He wrote quite a few stories loosely grouped in a common universe which I would classify as space opera. Generally they were easy reads rather short, by todays standards, possibly even a bit juvenile, but entertaining. This would include the Flandry novels which were about a naval officer, the Van Rijn and David Falkyn stories which were about space traders. He wrote time travel stories, alternative history stories, space exploration stories, speculative future stories, in all he was quite versatile.
 

Connavar

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I will try any of his sf except Space Opera. That type rule today and i prefer my old sf reading to be more varied.

Of the other types you mentioned any recommended books ?
 

Fried Egg

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I just finished "The Rebel Worlds" and whilst it included many interesting concepts, many of which seemed incidental to the story an I was left slightly confused as to the point Poul was trying to make. While some of his other books have had a somewhat anarchic message, this seemed quite the opposite, suggesting that mankind was better united under a tyranical regime than divided and free.
 

Connavar

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Yep, Greg Bear married Astrid Anderson. If "they" are Pohl and Asimov, they actually did with one story found in The Early Asimov, called "The Little Man on the Subway".



That's Frederik Pohl, rather than Anderson, Poul. :)

Anyway, for me, put me down in the camp who loves Brain Wave and Tau Zero and the Flandry books. But the Flandry books are actually just a subset of the Polesotechnic League (whose primary focus is the trader Nicholas van Rijn) and Terran Empire stories (which focus on Flandry but include more) which form a sort of loose future history and most anything in it is great. Good news for those who haven't explored them yet is that Baen is or shortly will be repackaging them.

Other great ones are The Enemy Stars, The High Crusade - the story of a medieval village getting visited by an alien spaceship - and taking it over and conquering the stars :), After Doomsday, and so on.

Also a great short writer. Much of the future history is composed of short works and he wrote great stuff including over a half-dozen award winners like "The Queen of Air and Darkness" and things that didn't win awards like "Time Lag".

He had style without being a "stylist" and wrote the kind of science fiction that gives primacy to idea and deed over character and introspection, but was himself apparently a very thoughtful and kind writer who was esteemed by people regardless of differing opinions. I can see how his work wouldn't appeal to everybody but, as noted, he succeeded at a wide variety of types of writing and something of it could well appeal to many.
Have you read his space opera books/series ? Any of those you would like to recommend to someone who hasnt read his SF books yet ?

I was browsing his biblio in fantastfiction thinking about getting one of his space opera/Science Fantasy like books i saw. Books like The High Crusade you mentioned would interest me alot ?

Flandary,Harvest of Stars books sounded good to me.
 

Ian Whates

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I grew up (in the SF reading sense) reading Anderson avidly and, although it's some 15 years since I last read any of his work, remember his writing very fondly and would include several of the 40-odd books I've read among my all time favourites.

I remember an interview with him which was available online (again, probably 15 years ago) in which he listed the books he'd most like to be remembered for. I think said list included Harvest of Stars, a book I've never read, but otherwise pretty much mirrored my own favourites.

For what it's worth, I'd recommend:

Brainwave (1954) A true classic of its time -- the Earth emerges from a cloud of cosmic dust it has been passing through for centuries and the level of intelligence of all life on the planet takes an abrupt leap forward.

Satan's World (1969) David Falkayne and his crew (one dragon-like alien, one cat-like alien and a wise-cracking ship's computer) bring their own brand of interplanetary trade to an inhospitable world.

Tau Zero (1970) One of the all-time classic hard SF novels. The captain of a starhip full of colonists loses control of his vessel, which keeps accelerating and accelerating and, courtesy of the effects of relativity, carries all in board into a future none of them ever expected to see.

A Midsummer Tempest (1974) A delicious madcap adventure which populates the world with characters from Shakespeare (specifically A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest) and throws in all sorts of added spice, including a steam train and even a visit to The Phoenix -- Andersons own recurring contribution to the genre's list of legendary bars and inns.

As I say, just my own favourites; there are plenty of other great works by him, and I should probably give honourable mention to The Makeshift Rocket (1962) -- how can a rocketship powered by beer be made to sound so plausible? Shield (1963) in which a man returns to Earth with a powerful alien object and is pursued by various agencies desperate to claim it and The High Crusade (1960) which sees a bunch of knights charge a strange 'dragon' and inadvertantly seize control of an alien space ship, which they somehow manage to get into space, where they then set about establishing an empire...

Then there are the Time Patrol books (so well researched) and the Ythri... Fine works, all of them. :)
 

J-Sun

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For what it's worth, I'd recommend:

Brainwave (1954) A true classic of its time -- the Earth emerges from a cloud of cosmic dust it has been passing through for centuries and the level of intelligence of all life on the planet takes an abrupt leap forward.

Satan's World (1969) David Falkayne and his crew (one dragon-like alien, one cat-like alien and a wise-cracking ship's computer) bring their own brand of interplanetary trade to an inhospitable world.

Tau Zero (1970) One of the all-time classic hard SF novels. The captain of a starhip full of colonists loses control of his vessel, which keeps accelerating and accelerating and, courtesy of the effects of relativity, carries all in board into a future none of them ever expected to see.
I agree - the first and last of those are indispensable stand-alones and I think the whole Polesotechnic/Terran Empire stuff is worthwhile. Also, as mentioned, The High Crusade. I also like The Enemy Stars.

Connavar, as far as what would interest you, I'm not sure. I was thinking you were looking for his fantasy (which I haven't really read) and not so much the space opera (though I don't think of Anderson's stuff as quite "space opera" in the strictest sense. Much of it is space-oriented, but that's a little different). The High Crusade, with its mix of medieval and SFnal things might appeal as a sort of hybrid - there's no fantasy to it, but it does have some swords and all. :)
 

Connavar

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I have read his fantasy and liked it alot. I want his golden age sf recommends now so i can read his sf.

Im not a fan space opera but i like space oriented stories. Much better read to me when its golden age ones and not as much modern ones i have read.

I only asked for his so called space opera cause several of his books sounded like. The blurbs talk about how good PA is at that.

Flandary series for example sounded interesting to me.
 

J-Sun

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Yep, the Flandry books and stories are the bulk of the 'Terran Empire' stuff, like van Rijn and Falkayn are the bulk of the 'Polesotechnic League' stuff. If they sound interesting to you, definitely go for 'em. And Tau Zero. :)
 

thepaladin

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I to came across him when I was young...early teens. He was one of the first names I knew to look for...Anderson, Van Vogt... So many have passed now. I believe that the world is a poor er place.
 

Connavar

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Yep, the Flandry books and stories are the bulk of the 'Terran Empire' stuff, like van Rijn and Falkayn are the bulk of the 'Polesotechnic League' stuff. If they sound interesting to you, definitely go for 'em. And Tau Zero. :)
I got Planet of No Return,War of Two Worlds,World withou Stars in a second hand omnibus version.

I will read Planet of No Return and then move to get other sf books. Mostly like Flandary first book.
 
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