Saturday, 23 February 2013

A Diversion

From the Poul Anderson Appreciation blog last month:

For months, I have been reading, mainly rereading, Poul Anderson's novels and posting about them while reading them. This means that I read the books more slowly than usual but also that I get more out of them. It also means that I read less other stuff. However, I must occasionally read something else.

Having received the Smallville TV series First Season DVD's as a present, I have been watching the early episodes and have also started to reread a Smallville novel, Dragon by Alan Grant.

Grant's description of a small spacecraft surrounded by a meteor swarm entering the Solar System and falling towards Earth while the Luthors and Kents go about their business in Smallville, Kansas, is worthy of Anderson. Many different authors have written Superman. Isobel Allende wrote a Zorro novel - called Zorro. Poul Anderson contributed to many other authors' sf series. (In fact, "Anderson in Asimov's, Niven's and others' universes" could be a topic in itself.)

What if Anderson had written a Superman novel, scientifically rationalising all the absurdities of a humanoid alien with impossible powers and presenting the character as interacting not with even greater absurdities but with the real world of economic crisis, climate change and US military interventions - Clark Kent reporting from Iraq and investigating Lexcorp? The twentieth century myth of Superman deserves such treatment in the three related media of prose fiction, graphic fiction and film. Graphic story-telling is intermediate between prose and film. Each of the three can do what the others can't. Poul Anderson would have been able to write a memorable novel.

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