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Poul Anderson (1926-2001) was an American SF and fantasy writer, who was also involved in the founding of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Apart from JRR Tolkien, probably the writer most involved in doing the research when it came to fantasy. One of the sources for Dungeons and Dragons.

The Other Wiki lists recurring themes in his work as (among others) "larger-than-life characters who succeed gleefully or fail heroically," the folly of underestimating "primitive" cultures, and "tragic conflict...with no villains at all." His most famous essay is "On Thud and Blunder," where he takes potshots at those who Did Not Do the Research in regards to fantasy, and is the Trope Namer for Thud and Blunder.

Works of Poul Anderson having their own pages: Edit


His other works provides examples of: Edit

  • Bittersweet Ending: Lots.
  • Blithe Spirit: Caitlín Mulryan, the eponymous character of The Avatar.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: After Doomsday
  • Combat Pragmatist: Poul Anderson is fond of these characters. In his Wing Alek series of short stories the main character is forbidden from ever using killing to win a conflict (luckily the villains don't know that) so he uses underhanded methods to get the villains to defeat themselves.
  • The Fair Folk: Appear in many Anderson stories, often with some kind of twist. Examples include The Queen of Air and Darkness.
  • Feudal Future: In Corridors of Time, the hero realizes that the futuristic society that recruited him to fight a Dystopia is rather dystopian itself when he is dropped in it and learns that the queen has high tech medical treatment while the poor woman he meets looks ancient at forty because of her lack of it.
  • First Contact: The novelette The Enemy Stars deals with an accidental First Contact between a human and the aliens that save his life, and the sequel The Ways of Love deals with how humans handle the first alien beings on Earth (not well, in some cases).
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Averted in the short story The Food of the Gods. A being or concept needs some initial worship to achieve Godhood, but after that are relatively self-sustaining. (If a bit hungry . . . )
  • Grey and Gray Morality
  • Hope Is Scary: In After Doomsday, an alien does not understand this.
  • Humanoid Aliens
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: A Boat of Million Years has fertile immortals. Unfortunately, the children are mortal.
  • Inn Between the Worlds: The Old Phoenix Tavern, which appears in several works.
  • King in the Mountain: In Orion Shall Rise, the line "Orion shall rise" is used by many citizens of a subjugated land. This trope is invoked to explain their superstition.
  • Lady Land: An all-female Lost Colony is discovered in the novel Virgin Planet.
  • The Leader: After Doomsday
  • Lonely Together: In "Losers' Night", the Old Phoenix, the Inn Between the Worlds, has a night where all the guests are failures. Unusually for the inn, this night allows people to magically understand each other -- so they can commiserate.
  • Master of Your Domain: A lot of his books e.g. Boat of A Million Years
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Devil's Game
  • My Grandson, Myself: In The Boat of a Million Years several characters do this.
  • Norse Mythology: Several of Anderson's novels (e.g. War of the Gods, Hrolf Kraki's Saga) are adaptations of old Norse sagas, while several others are loosely based on them (such as The Broken Sword).
  • Privateer: The Star Fox
  • Room 101: The story "Sam Hall" opens with the protagonist's nephew being arrested and sent to a Room 101; the protagonist must hide that they were related.
  • Sherlock Scan: In "Queen of Air and Darkness."
  • Shrouded in Myth: In Virgin Planet, a planet of women, isolated by accident, has legends of these marvelous beings, men. A real, flesh-and-blood man appears, and they initially conclude he's not marvelous enough and must be an alien.
  • Space Opera
  • Starfish Aliens: In Starfarers, one of the sentient species is an intelligent layer of star. Not the whole star, just part of its skin.
  • Time Travel: Lots of uses, beside the "Time Patrol" series
  • Trapped in the Past: In the short story "The Man Who Came Early", an American soldier stationed in Iceland is sent back to the Viking Era after being hit by lightning.
  • Twice-Told Tale: "Goat Song"
  • You Are in Command Now: After Doomsday

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