Think there's an unbridgeable gulf between human and alien thought Not so! There's a common tongue, all right -- and Nicholas Van Rijn speaks it fluently: TRADE. For behind the buffoonish blarney and bawdy bonhomie of the Falstaffian Van Rijn is a man who gets things done. A born wheeler-dealer who usually leaves both sides better off in the bargain. (While pocketing a hefty cut of the profits himself, of course!)
With The Man Who Counts and a passel of other tales included, this is the first of three volumes set to contain the complete cycle of “Polesotechnic League” books and stories by transcendently-gifted science fiction master (how does seven Hugos and three Nebula Awards strike you ) Poul Anderson – and starring Nicholas Van Rijn, his most famous character of all!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the first collection of the polesotechnic future history written by Poul Anderson, collected and printed in chronological order as they happened not as they were written. So the quality of the writing changes from story to story. Not that any of the writing is bad as Anderson was an accomplished writer whose characters have complex personalities and whose descriptions and settings are plausible. But over time even Anderson became more accomplished as a writer. These stories are mostly about Nicholas van Rijn, the businessman behind his interstellar trading company. Other key characters are introduced in some of the stories, so the characters and settings develop over the course of the tales. These stories are stories of exploration for profit, the merchant princes are looking for new worlds in order to find new products and new markets. The government hasn't become corrupt yet, so people and the alien races are free people of the galaxy. I've always enjoyed...
In the beginning, Van Rijn made his fortune by making deals himself. This meant risking his own (considerable) skin on various planets, facing down tyrants and crooks (while abusing the King's English). Along the way, we learn history of the Polesotechnic League. And about planetary science- not fantasy. So, The Saturn Game is the crew of a spaceship lost in a role playing game. The Problem of Pain concerns two races on an island- one dying of a local germ, the other ill, not dying. How to be Ethnic in One Easy Lesson relies on a friend to score points at a festival. The Three-Cornered Wheel takes place on a primitive planet under fire. Each story a neat set-piece in a different place. The book is especially valuable for a Chronology of the Technic civilization. See: David Falkayn: Star Trader: The Technic Civilization Saga.
Baen Books has thus far published five ominbus volumes of Poul Anderson's "Technic Civilization" tales, with two more planned to complete the series. "Van Rijn's Method" is the first volume. Together, the seven volumes will cover thousands of years of future history.
I first read most of these stories decades ago, and it is an immense pleasure to find them all together in one collection. Poul Anderson was particularly noted for his "hard science fiction" (fiction with a goodly dose of real, physical science behind it) and this is particularly evident in the detail and care with which he crafted the numerous worlds upon which his characters found themselves. And the natives of those numerous worlds were never simply humans in bad make-up (as characterized the original "Star Trek" television series), but true aliens in physiology and psychology. While Anderson's stories had no shortage of intense action, at heart they were driven by ideas, and most usually heroes...
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