Poul Anderson

I’m reading* The Van Rijn Method*, and Nicholas is the guy I want at my back in a bar fight. Not Falkyn, not Flandry, not even Peter Falk from The Thing About My Folks.

I was a big fan of those space opera Polesotechnic books back in the day, though at that age I preferred the heroic Falkyn to the egotistic Van Rijn. I imagine that’d probably be reversed if I read them now.

But really my favorite character was the tempermental Cynthian, Chee Lan. Liked that attitude problem of hers ;).

ETA: I still roughly remember the following exchange from Mirkheim. The small, cat-like Chee Lan is riding on a passenger jet and a little kid goes “oooh, kitty!” and wants to pet her. She tells the mother “Why don’t you eat your young?” At twelve I thought that was the coolest line ever :D.

"Heineken Bier!"

Great battle cry, no? Shades of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie.

I really liked Anderson, especially his Time Patrol stuff.

Yes, she is cool.
I don’t remember the novel where she, riding on Adzel with a cannon, blasts their way through a castle wall to rescue Falklyn.

Damn, I don’t remember that.
Which novel or story is it?

Isn’t that from “3 Hearts and 3 Lions?”

I just checked my Anderson collection and it looks The High Crusade gets my rubber band award. That is for books that I’ve read so many time that I have to use a rubber band to hold them together.

Man, I feel so much like that at work…

It’s from The man who counts, aka “The war of the wingmen”.


I haven’t read High Crusade but I think I’ll have to because I like the award idea so much.

carnivorousplant: That scene comes from early in Satan’s World.

My favorite Chee Lan line comes from “Day of Burning.” She has just met some Mersians and one of them asks: “Did you come from the spaceship?” She answers: “Nay, idiot, I am come to inspect the plumbing?”

It is really fun if you like science fiction combined with the idea of the medieval English in outer space. With current technology it would make a pretty good movie. Maybe some should send Peter Jackson a copy.

Where do you start with this series? Or can they stand alone? Which one is best?

As was pointed out to me in another thread recently, there was a movie.

*The High Crusade *is the only book of Anderson’s that I’ve read, but *Three Hearts and Three Lions *is sitting on my shelf waiting. The High Crusade was a neat concept and quite funny, too.

Based on the reviews, I don’t think I’d care to see the movie.

No one has yet mentioned Tau Zero, one of the few truly hard SF novels, and one of the two greatest in the subgenre (the other being Hal Clement’s Mission of Gravity). The High Crusade was fun, but no Tau Zero.

Tau Zero was great, I agree.

I liked Boat of a Million Years a lot too.


I miss Poul. He autographed my copy of There Will be Time.

Generally, they stand alone. All the following remarks are, of course, IMO.
*The Earth Book of Stormgate *is a good place to start. It includes The Man Who Counts (War of the Wing Men), the first and best Van Rijn novel, “How to be Ethnic in one Easy Lesson,” a story about Adzel, and a couple of stories about Falkyn, Chee Lan, and Adzel, “Day of Burning” being excellent. There are also a couple of stories that appeared originally in Boy’s Life, but are surprisingly good. Another story is “Wings of Victory,” which first introduced the Ythrians, the best conceived ET’s in science fiction.
*Trader to the Stars *is a collection of three Van Rijn stories, which are pretty much standard pulp fare.
*The Trouble Twisters *is the first Falkayn book and has three stories. Two are pretty good, but “The Invisible Sun” is one of the worst things Anderson ever wrote.
*Satan’s World *and Mirkheim are two novels that feature both Van Rijn Falkayn. They are all right.
*People of the Wind *is a book that tells how the Terran Empire made war on the Ythrian Empire. It is excellent.
*Ensign Flandry *is the first Flandry book and it is pretty standard space opera, though the character of Max Abrams is very good.
*A Circus of Hells *is the next Flandry book and is much better, especially the second half.
*The Rebel Worlds *is a book I loved in my 30’s, largely because my personal situation mirrored that of Flandry: in love with a married woman who ultimately wouldn’t have me. With time, I have realized it has major flaws, but its aliens, the beings of Dido, are among the most mind-blowing ET’s in SF.
*The Day of Their Return *is a non-Flandry novel in which a bureaucrat names Desai Chunderban confronts Flandry’s arch-enemy, the telepath Aycharaych. It’s not bad.
There are two Flandry short story collections, Flandry of Terra and Agent of the Terran Empire. Of the stories they contain, the novellas “A Message in Secret” and “Hunters of the Sky Cave” are fantastic. “Honorable Enemies” introduces Aycharaych, but is pretty dismal. “Warriors from Nowhere” features a really funny line by Chives.
*A Knight of Ghost and Shadows *is the next Flandry novel and is genuinely tragic. I highly recommend it, although the ending is not happy.
*A Stone in Heaven *is a wretched novel that is an attempt to make the Flandry saga end on a happy note.
*The Long Night *is another collection and all of the stories are worth reading. “The Star Plunderer” tells of the Terran Empire’s creation. I wish Anderson had written it later in his career because he could do full justice.
*The Night Faces *is a novel set in the future well after Flandry. It is truly excellent, but, once again, it doesn’t have a happy ending.
There is another novel that involves Flandry’s daughter, but I haven’t read it.
AFAIK, these are all the books in the Poleseotechnic Saga.
As you can doubtless tell, I am a big admirer of Anderson.

Ensign Flandry is a good, fun read with Dominic Flandry as protagonist. Several hundred years after Van Rijn. Satan’s World is a good David Falklyn, Van Rijn novel. Chee and Adzel are in it, too as pointed out up thread. :slight_smile: