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Trader to the Stars (1964)

– tekijä: Poul Anderson

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 9) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Before he was the stay-at-home head of Solar Spice & Liquors, Nicholas Van Rjin travelled the stars himself as he grew his business against the depravations of fellow member of the Polesotechnic League and the natives he was trading with. These tales deal with accidents in space and hostile planets along with enemies who considered themselves wily ( )
  JohnFair | May 27, 2019 |
This contains three stories about NIchols van Rijn, merchant prince of the Polesotechnic League. In the first, using a motif Anderson reuses elsewhere, van Rijn has located the home planet of the "Adderkops" --pirate exiles from a human colony --but his own ship has broken down and the pirates are looking for him. He needs help,but the ship he stops turns out to be a zoo ship full of exotic animals, and the crew (whose only knowledge of humans is of the pirates) have hidden themselves among the specimens. Van Rijn has to figure out which of the "animals" are the crew. The answer turns out to be two symbiotic species, a concept Anderson expanded into three symbionts in a Flandry novel. The second story involves a well-meaning human scientific base trying to help reverse disastrous climate changes on a planet which now has one surviving city while the rest of the people have reverted to barbarism. The city people unexpectedly incite the local tribe into attacking the base while van Rijn is there, and he and one woman scientist are stranded when the rest flee, thinking them dead. Va Rijn manages to demonstrate his own toughness and win the tribe's respect, while figuring out why the city folk turned hostile. The third story also involves unexpected hostility to a trading party, this time not headed by Van Rijn but by a young protege (a forerunner of Falkayn in later stories). After the traders return, Van Rijn has to deduce why the natives suddenly turned hostile, and then suddenly change back to respectful, Van Rijn's answer is that the natives include two peoples, Yildivan and Lugals, the Yildivan are genetically programmed o be individuals the Lugals to be faithful "dogs" though of human-level intelligence. Spoiler: When a human mentioned the concept of God, the Yildivans thought it meant the humans were "mad dogs" who had killed their masters, but when the party leader's lieutenant disobeyed his leader's (dazed) orders they decided the humans were Yildivans after all. To me, it seems unlikely that "mad dogs" would have leaders or that one "mad dog" disobeying such a leader would prove he was a Yildivan. It might have made more sense if the humans had been thought to be the equivalent of feral rather than mad dogs -- feral dogs might well have a pack alpha. But even so, disobedience might not prove one was Yildivan. ( )
  antiquary | Sep 22, 2018 |
Indeholder "Indledning", "Skjulested", "Territorium", "Guds slaver".

"Indledning" handler om et tilbageblik fra en lidt fjern fremtid, hvor det Polesotekniske Forbund er etableret og interstellare rejser er mulige.
"Skjulested" handler om handelsmanden Nicholas van Rijn, der er overvægtig, fordrukken og alligevel ret skarp til at finde fordele ved alt. Han, den nuværende elskerinde Jeri Kofoed, kaptajn Bahadur Torrance og hans besætning er på vej i "Hebe G. B.", da de finder ud af at skibet er blevet skadet af en tidligere skærmydsel med en bande fribyttere: adderkopperne. De opbringer et andet skib, men det er ikke en menneskelig race, der har bygget det og det ligner en dyrehandel. Besætningen har valgt at gemme sig og det haster med at finde ud af hvem af de underlige dyr i bure, der egentlig er besætningen. De har skjult sig godt og ødelagt alt inventar, der kunne give hints om deres udseende og bygning. Nicholas van Rijn bruger sin logiske sans og finder ud af det alligevel.
"Territorium" handler om ???
"Guds slaver" handler om ???

Nicholas van Rijn ( )
  bnielsen | Jan 12, 2015 |
I liked this science fiction book of space-faring traders. I especially liked the challenge in the first story of trying to determine who were the crew and the cultural misunderstandings depicted in the last story. I look forward to reading the first book in the series, War of the Wing-Men. ( )
  krin5292 | Sep 30, 2012 |
Technically the first omnibus collection of Poul Anderson's Polesotechnic League series (which is itself the first half of his Technic League series), although it's preceded by The Man Who Counts (originally published in a heavily-edited form as War of the Wing-Men by Ace Books in 1958), Trader to the Stars contains three long short stories featuring the memorable Nicholas Van Rijn, a "globular" merchant prince who can out-think, out-swindle, out-eat, out-drink, out-fight, out-scheme, and out-, uh, "romance" pretty much anybody, of any species, he encounters. (He also mangles his century's version of the English language more frequently, and more humorously, than anyone else present.)

Though not as strong a collection as The Earth Book of Stormgate (which was the debut publication of The Man Who Counts), Trader to the Stars is a decent, intelligent, old-school, short introduction to the wonders of Van Rijn in particular and libertarian sci-fi in general (indeed, Trader to the Stars won the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award in 1985, and Anderson himself was given a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001, the year of his death ): this means that plot is king, wisecracks are not stinted, humorous ribaldry roughly comparable to Bob Hope's takes a turn for those who might appreciate it, and the female characters are developed even less than most of the male characters are.

The stories collected here are "Hiding Place" (originally published in Analog Science Fiction's March 1961 edition), "Territory" (first published in Analog's June 1963 issue), and "The Master Key" (whose debut was in Analog's July 1964 issue). My favorite was "Territory," which also has the closest to a fully developed female character here; "The Master Key" is the weakest piece overall -- it's a mostly flaccid attempt at a Marlow flashback narrative of Joseph Conrad's, and it's notable for giving Van Rijn the least amount of time on stage -- but it has a strong finish that strongly advocates Anderson's libertarian beliefs and manages to pack a certain poignant -- and pungent -- punch. (It also echoes the "equality vs. quality" dichotomy posited in Owen Wister's The Virginian; on a lighter note, readers of Robert Anton Wilson's & Robert Shea's The Illuminatus! Trilogy may get a chuckle from a character's declaring: "'Twenty-three...that number's going to haunt me for the rest of my life...'" [p. 138].)

Van Rijn provides the most concise summary of Anderson's libertarian principles at the end of "Territory," when he tells his current inamorata, "'You thought your government could do it. Bah! Governments is day-flies. Any change of ideology, of mood, even, and poof goes your project. But private action, where everybody concerned is needful to everybody's else's income, that's stable. Politics, they come and go, but greed goes on forever'" (p. 114). One can't help but wonder how Anderson would've distinguished this philosophy from the "Greed is good" mantra of Oliver Stone's Wall Street; they seem to this reader to be too close for comfort, particularly in the current economic and political climate.

Anderson gussies up Trader to the Stars a bit by inserting a felicitous phrase into Van Rijn's mouth ("'reason is just the lackey for instinct,'" also in "Territory" [ p. 100]), but also by quoting a page-and-a-half of his own "Margin of Profit" (collected in The Earth Book of Stormgate), between "Hiding Place" and "Territory," and by quoting a stanza of Shelley's "A New World" between "Territory" and "The Master Key." But perhaps the truest indicator of the appeal of Anderson's Polesotechnic League and Orson Wellesian Nicholas Van Rijn is not merely that the reader is apt to want read further in the series, but that he -- if he's any sort of a fan of science fiction at all -- is apt to daydream of a confrontation between Van Rijn and Star Trek's Captains Kirk and Picard; Van Rijn would likely make short work of Harcourt Fenton Mudd and the Ferengi from the respective series, but it would be fascinating to see a duel of wits between the Dutch-Indonesian space merchant and the Enterprise's two captains. ( )
1 ääni uvula_fr_b4 | Oct 8, 2011 |
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