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The Boat of a Million Years [Anglais] [Poche]

Poul Anderson


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"TO SAIL beyond the world-" Hanno's voice faded away. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: 3.7 étoiles sur 5  57 commentaires
19 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Voyaging from Phoenicia to the Stars. 21 février 2006
Par Maximiliano F Yofre - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
"The Boat of a Million Years " is one of the best novels written by Poul Anderson.

It is constructed as a series of short stories telling about immortal people (or almost immortal). The different characters crisscross their ways along centuries and millennia. The outcomes of these encounters are sometimes friendly, sometimes antagonistic; never innocuous.

Poul Anderson show his talent to mix action, drama and humor with deep meditations about meaning of life, ethics, gender conflict, ethnic discrimination and many subjects more. He includes accurate different historical backgrounds for each episode ranging from ancient Greece thru far future.

The story is great; it mainly follows Phoenician seaman Hanno in his eternal quest to find more people like him. He is very special. He never get sick or old, his teeth grows up again when he loose one, he recover very quickly from injuries.

He soon discover that his bless is also his curse. He remains unchanged yet consorts and descents grow old, die and vanish. Neighbors usually react violently to his "witchery" blaming him to practice strange deals with demons.

To evade these circumstances Hanno becomes a master in changing personalities and evading suspicion.

The narrative starts to catch momentum and conclude with a very interesting piece situated in a far future full of new possibilities.

Take a joyful romp thru it, you won't be disappointed!

Reviewed by Max Yofre.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A solid, enjoyable read 15 octobre 2004
Par Elisabeth Carey - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This is solid, if rambling, Anderson fun: scenes from the lives of a small group of immortals as they learn to hide their nature and cope with the natural suspicions of their short-lived compatriots. The oldest is Hanno, a Phoenician sailor, and the youngest is an African-American slave who eventually uses the name Corinne Macandal. The others who make it to the end of book are Aliyat (Syrian), Svoboda (Ukrainian), Tu Shan (Chinese), Yukiko (Japanese), John Wanderer (Native American), and Patulcius (Roman). Agelessness is not enough to ensure long lives, and we meet other immortals along the way, who from carelessness, bad luck, or deliberate choice, don't survive to share the ultimate fate of the eight survivors. Or rather, as they come to be known, Survivors.

Most of the book consists of the adventures the individual immortals in various well-devoloped ancient settings. Hanno joins a Greek expedition to Britain and Scandinavia. Aliyat lives too long in Palmyra while it is changing from a Christian to a Muslim city, and escapes the harem to become a prostitute--in Constantinople for a while, where she briefly meets Hanno, who has become a Rus trader. (Well, Welsh, really, for certain values of "really," but the Byzantines regard him as Rus.) Svoboda, already a great-grandmother, leaves her village before she can be killed for witchcraft, to become a merchant's wife in Kiev (and briefly meets Hanno), and later a nun, and still later a Cossack and then a soldier for Mother Russia during the Second World War. (Not for the USSR; the Soviets are better than the Nazis for Svoboda's people, but not much.) Hanno meets Richelieu; John Wanderer, under the earlier name of Deathless, survives the great cultural change brought by the arrival of the horse, and later survives the conquest of the Native American tribes by the expanding United States of America (and meets Hanno. Hanno is the unifying theme in this book.)

It's in these visits to different times and cultures that the book is strongest; it's always been one of Anderson's great strengths. Where the book drags a bit is in the late 20th century, where Hanno becomes a remarkably predictable libertarian. Only a particularly petty and unhealthy puritanism, for instance, can possibly explain laws banning smoking in elevators. Hanno's nemesis, Edmund Moriarty, a.k.a. "Neddy," U.S. Senator from some unidentified New England state, is a cartoon, about as subtle as a ton of bricks. Even John Wanderer's mild reminders that there are some real problems that are most usefully addressed at a level beyond rugged individualism carry little weight beside the fact that Moriarty's own aide has complete contempt for Moriarty's hypocrisy, evidenced in such telling signs as the fact that he has quit smoking, and the senator is too smugly oblivious to notice. Despite the fact that this is the section in which all the surviving immortals make contact, and the one in which hiding successfully becomes a serious challenge, this is a dull, draggy interlude. There is no explanation, not even hand-waving, for how clever Hanno hides them all from the nefarious forces of modern civilization for the remaining decades before aging becomes a solved problem for everyone. We then have another not very interesting section, set in the same AI-controlled world as The Stars Are Also Fire and other later Anderson works, before the real story resumes. The immortals leave this boring non-story for a far more entertaining encounter with two alien species.

Not Anderson's best work, by any means, but very enjoyable even with its weaknesses.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Balanced Optimism 10 septembre 2001
Par George Baxter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
Poul Anderson is not (was.. he died just recently) the most optimistic of writers. He did not believe in the predestined success of humanity.. at least as a whole. (This is as opposed to David Brin.. who is hugely optimistic.)
In this book he presents a set of characters that, by accident of genetics, find themselves immortal. We follow them from pre- or barely- historical times well into the future. Through their eyes we watch humankind as a whole struggle, achieve, fail, die and live. We watch these immortals as they set themselves apart
for survival reasons.. twice.
The grand sweep of the book through humankind's history is wonderful. The book gets a bit lost at the end.. we wander too far from humanity, though it is a natural conclusion. In the end, perhaps... it is not the book that wandered too far, but humanity itself.
Wonderful story, wonderful storytelling...
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Very unusual and imaginative book 12 mars 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
This is the first (and so far only) Poul Anderson book I read, so I did not know what to expect. After reading throught the first few chapters, it appeared that it was just a series of tales about being immortal during different periods in history. It was very interesting to see it all coalesce into one final resolution (though not a final conclusion). This book is very unusual and thought-provoking, and I recommend it for anyone who is looking more for original ideas instead of standard future-time stories (most of this novel takes place in the past, starting at 500BC(?). It is not always an instant page-turner, but leaves you with a feeling of awe.
27 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Slightly Disappointing 9 septembre 2001
Par C. Baker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
This is another one of those books that is hard to review because there are a lot of good parts, and a lot parts that are not so good, so you're left with a mixed bag.

The Boat of a Million Years follows the lives of several immortals from 310 B.C. through the future. It chronicles the trials they find themselves in trying to hide or mask their immortality from their communities and even their families, and the life of wandering, and at times despair, it leads them to. In the end they come together to voyage into space to make their future -- which makes up the last chapter of the book.

Most of the book is written as short chapters chronicling events in the lives of the immortals -- some who don't even survive to modern times. The most interesting and well written of the characters is Hanno, who we find in the opening scenes of the book, and several chapters throughout in different eras and with a different name. There are other interesting characters as well. But the main problem of the novel is it's overwritten and long winded. It takes a lot of patience to wade through the slag to get to the good parts. And the prose gets a bit stodgy at times. The last chapter is almost novella length and is probably the strongest part of the book -- but it also has a bit of a dull edge. The characters just don't seem that amazing or wise given their longevity.

If all the best parts of the novel were pulled together and the chaff culled out -- this could have been an excellent piece of work. It really does have some interesting things to say about the prospect and consequences of immortality. But, as is, this is a slightly disappointing work.
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