Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Time Patrol And There Will Be Time

(i) Our evolutionary successors, the Danellians, must recruit human beings to the Time Patrol to counteract individual time criminals, groups like the Neldorians and Exaltationists and, ultimately, temporal chaos whereas Jack Havig must recruit fellow time travellers to his group to counteract Caleb Wallis' Eyrie.

(ii) The Patrol Academy, in the American West of the Oligocene period, exists for half a million years on either a greensward or an elevation between large trees and close to hills, woods and "...a great brown river." (1) The Havig group's main base, in North America near where the Eyrie will be but during the Pleistocene, stands on a wooded hill above "...a mighty river..." (2)

(iii) The Patrol transports building materials and equipment instantaneously without transit time in temporal vehicles whereas the Havig group, able to transport only what each individual can carry, must ferry everything piece by piece. For them, this lengthy passage requires resting places, caches en route and special equipment like miniature oxygen tanks for periods when they cannot emerge to breathe because the land is under water or ice.

(iv) When Patrolman Manson Everard discovers that the Danellians not only preserve history but also sometimes meddle to create their own past, he thinks, "It may be a crooked game...but it's the only one in town." (3) The Eyrie is white supremacist so Confucian, Aborigine, Polish, Mesopotamian, African, Mexican and Eskimo time travellers easily accept that, for them, the Havig group is "...the only game in town." (4)

(v) The Patrol must prevent changes to history and may use one paradox, circular causality, but only to prevent another, causality violation, whereas neither the Eyrie nor the Havig group can change history but the Havig group must use circular causality to alter the significance of known events.  

(vi) The Patrol is the stabilising element in a chaotic reality. The Havig group brings forth and participates in the future civilisation of the Star Masters.

These contrasting narratives are just two of Anderson's four major works on time travel. The alert reader might notice that a villain in the Time Patrol series and another in The Corridors Of Time have almost identical physical descriptions.   

(1) Anderson, Poul, Time Patrol, New York, 2006, p. 6; The Shield Of Time, New York, 1990, p. 129.
(2) Anderson, Poul, There Will Be Time, New York, 1973, p. 157.
(3) Time Patrol, p. 171.
(4) There Will Be Time, p. 156.

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