Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Poul Anderson, Jim Baen, and Worlds of IF

My first subscription to a science fiction magazine began with the August 1974 issue of Galaxy.  Beginning in September of that year, my short lived (due to cancellation) subscription to its sister magazine Worlds of IF.  Both were edited by Jim Baen who quickly became my favorite editor at the time.  Through yard sales and flea markets I was able to collect other issues of both magazines.  I am still slowly filling in the gaps.

What does this have to do with Poul Anderson?  My first Anderson novel was the serial that began in that September issue of Worlds of IF.  It was "A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows".  I was immediately hooked on this story of a Terran Empire heading towards, in Flandry's words, "The Long Night".  Flandry was similar to an older James Bond at this point in his career.  He knows that the Empire is dying but is doing everything he can to prolong that death.  "Knight" deals with a confrontation with his arch enemy, betrayal, and the past catching up with the present.  Anderson would slip references in to previous stories in his future history.  It gave the reader a sense of this being a fully realized world.  Reading this serial I felt that I was reading a full novel.  You did not need to read the other books to understand this one but it did give you a fuller reading experience.  

Baen Books has started to reprint new collections of Anderson's future history. With the reprints on the shelf, I thought it would be a good time to return to the Terran Empire and re-read the Dominic Flandry stories.  I am in the process of deciding which month would be best for this project.

If anyone is interested in joining me, just leave a reply to this post.


Ashton said...

This sounds interesting. I might want to join you. How easy are these books to obtain now, and where can I find them?

Jim Black said...

Ensign Flandry, A Circus of Hells, and The Rebel Worlds are in the Baen collection called Young Flandry. Baen has collected all of the Flandry stories but I would start with that one. Copies are available on Amazon.