Book Review: Tales of the Flying Mountains by Poul Anderson (Three Stars)

Book Review: Tales of the Flying Mountains by Poul Anderson (Three Stars)

“I don’t care who writes the nation’s laws,” he misquoted, “if I may program its computers.”

Better than average collection of stories written mostly in the 1960s. Like Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, Anderson wrote many future history short stories—some of which were connectable. The framing story, presumably added later, is inept. Readers won’t miss much by skipping it.

“Harleman knew that Emett’s gang were discovering things. He hoped those things would justify enlarging their division next year. Other than that, he was too busy to care.
Until the day when the CIA man came.”

Got many things hilariously wrong, but several shrewd guesses. Male chauvinism is on full display, though Anderson has several well-drawn female characters. Slide rules, card catalogs of computer tapes, and clattering computers are still in evidence. Anderson, of course, didn’t know about Cere’s frozen ocean, but he did posit lots of ice available in a asteroid belt. Most everyone smokes: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.

Quibbles: “Her faded eyes seek Polaris—but it’s Earth’s, not ours anymore.” No, the parallax as they approach Alpha Centari would not suffice to displace Polaris, especially as they were headed almost due south. “The self-sealing hull was thin magnesium …” What idiot would construct a battle ship out of magnesium?

“Isn’t that, the real universe, isn’t that enough? What more do we need?”
“Do you mean,” Lindgren asks, “that we may as well tell the undisguised truth about what brought us here?”
“Yes,” I reply, “because the only thing that matters is that we are here.”
“Sure. Go ahead. Let them have the truth. When they grow up, they’ll gloss it over anyway.”

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1 thought on “Book Review: Tales of the Flying Mountains by Poul Anderson (Three Stars)

  1. Ha, I recall reading some of these writers. My brother was into science fiction, big time! None of these books survived, none are on my bookshelves now, but I enjoy reading
    these classics are still around!

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