Originally published on Poul Anderson Appreciation, Sat 25 Aug 2012.
The late Poul Anderson was best known as a writer of "hard" science
fiction. But, he also wrote a smaller, but significant body of fantasy.
I listed the most important of these works below.
THE BROKEN SWORD (1954, rev. ed. 1971)
THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS (1961)
OPERATION CHAOS (1971)
OPERATION LUNA (1999)
HROLF KRAKI'S SAGA (1973)
A MIDSUMMER TEMPEST (1974)
THE MERMAN'S CHILDREN (1979)
THE DEMON OF SCATTERY, with Mildred D. Broxon (1979)
CONAN THE REBEL (1980)
THE DEVIL'S GAME (1980)
WAR OF THE GODS (1997), regretfully, I think this was a weak, for Anderson, book.
Except for the regrettably weak WAR OF THE
GODS, Anderson's fantasies are of such high quality that I find it
difficult to name the two or three I admire most. But THREE HEARTS AND
THREE LIONS is definitely one of them. And A MIDSUMMER TEMPEST is
unusual in being written almost entirely in blank verse. TEMPEST was
written as a homage to William Shakespeare and his plays.
stories I listed below are found in the collection called, with
regrettable unoriginality, FANTASY. The collection includes two non
fiction articles by Poul Anderson and an "Afterword" by Sandra Miesel
"The Tale of Hauk"
"Of Pigs and Men"
"A Logical Conclusion"
"The Valor of Cappen Varra"
"The Gate of the Flying Knives"
"On Thud and Blunder"
"Fantasy in the Age of Science"
"Afterword: An Invitation to Elfland," by Sandra Miesel
the list I gave above includes stories which are at least borderline
hard science fiction. Examples being "House Rule" and "Superstition." I
especially admire the rigorous logic Poul Anderson uses in developing
ideas most of us would call fantasies. Two examples of that being "The
Tale of Hauk" and "Pact."
Before he died in 2001, Poul
Anderson arranged to have several of his books and stories posthumously
published. The last of his fantasy stories, "The Lady of the Winds,"
was published by FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION in the Oct/Nov 2001 issue.
am convinced Poul Anderson was a master short story writer. In both
fantasy and hard science fiction. By turns poetic and elegiac, and
scrupulously faithful to known science or not too impossible
extrapolations from what was known. He also excelled in describing his
characters and the backgrounds of his stories.