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For Love and Glory
Poul Anderson
Tor, 300 pages

For Love and Glory
Poul Anderson
Poul Anderson was born in 1926 in Bristol, Pennsylvania. His first publication was "Tomorrow's Children" (with F.N. Waldrop) in the March 1947 issue of Astounding, and his first novel was Vault of the Ages (1952). Since then, he has won 7 Hugo Awards (2 for short stories, 3 for novelettes and 2 for novellas) and 3 Nebula Awards (2 for novelettes and the other for a novella). From 1972-3, he presided as SFWA President. He died in 2001.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Broken Sword
SF Site Review: Starfarers

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

This is yet another posthumous novel by the late, great Poul Anderson. In the very early 90s, Anderson contributed two stories to the Isaac's Universe anthology series. These stories were set in a universe invented by Isaac Asimov, featuring humans and several alien races some centuries in the future. The various races occupy largely the same smallish area of the Galaxy, and they co-exist fairly peacefully. A key feature of the milieu was the presence of mysterious artifacts left by an older, vastly more powerful, race, the Hidden Folk. Anderson's stories were a novella, "The Burning Sky", and a novelette, "Woodcraft", both featuring a heroine named Laurice Windfell.

As the author explains in a brief introduction, For Love and Glory takes those two stories and expands them into a novel. However, he chose to sever the links with the Isaac's Universe series, in order that his ideas will not conflict with anybody else's stories in the same universe, nor constrain future development. In so doing, he has changed names of people -- Laurice Windfell becomes Lissa Windholm; of planets -- Ather becomes Asborg; of races -- the Naxians become the Susaians; and even of the Hidden Folk, who are now called the Forerunners (a nod to Andre Norton, I suppose). He has also radically revised the two existing stories, adding a major new character and altering the motivations of some key characters. He has added two new episodes, as well as some interstitial material, making the novel more than twice the length of the original stories.

The story opens with Lissa Windholm and an alien partner coming across a mysterious artifact, evidently left by the Forerunners, on the planet Jonna. But they are not the first to discover this artifact -- a man named Torben Hebo, one of the oldest humans still alive, and his alien partner have got there first. And their interest is profit, as opposed to Lissa's purely scientific motivation. Torben also rather crudely expresses an interest of a different sort in Lissa herself. But disaster strikes, and Lissa and her friend rescue Torben, leading to a reasonable compromise.

That episode serves mainly as a rather clumsy (to my mind) prologue, having little function but to introduce Lissa and Torben. They spend some energy mooning a bit over each other, while Lissa, a key member of a powerful family on Asborg, mounts an expedition to view the scientifically fascinating collision of two black holes, and while Torben goes back to Earth to get his memory scrubbed and to show the reader details of Earth's advanced linked human mind. Lissa's expedition involves the humans in a conflict between factions of the Susaian race. The stories come together again in the following episode, in which a neighboring planet of Asborg is colonized by Susaians, and in which Torben gets involved in an attempt to industrialize this new planet, resisted by Lissa and her Susaian friends, who favor a "greener" approach. The final episode, then, features a further conflict with the bad Susaian faction, and an opportunity to learn something dramatic about the Forerunners.

As my summary might imply, the novel is rather episodic, and the joins between the new episodes and the pre-existing stories show, sometimes uneasily. I wouldn't be surprised if Anderson intended one final revision pass through the book but sadly never had the chance. Still, it's a decent and enjoyable novel, with some nice science-fictional ideas, and some pleasant and interesting main characters. The action is well-handled, and a sense of mystery and wonder at the secrets of the universe, so often central to Anderson's work, is nicely conveyed. This book is by no means Anderson at the top of his form, but he was ever a writer who would occasionally throttle back and produce supremely competent entertainment -- and I think that's what For Love and Glory ends up being. Not an enduring classic, but a book I'm happy to have read.

Copyright © 2003 Rich Horton

Rich Horton is an eclectic reader in and out of the SF and fantasy genres. He's been reading SF since before the Golden Age (that is, since before he was 13). Born in Naperville, IL, he lives and works (as a Software Engineer for the proverbial Major Aerospace Company) in St. Louis area and is a regular contributor to Tangent. Stop by his website at

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