Friday, 14 February 2014

Ivory, and Apes, and Peacocks II

Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006).

In "Ivory, and Apes, and Peacocks," Poul Anderson quotes 1 Kings 10.22 which contains his title phrase. However, I knew the phrase from John Masefield's poem, "Cargoes." (Barely legible here in the third and fourth lines.)

In Time Patrol, "Ivory..." begins on p. 229 but it is not until p. 260 that Manson Everard ventures to suggest that "'[t]he organizing brain...of genius level. But with a touch of childishness -'" (pp. 259-260) of a new threat to the timeline guarded by the Patrol might be Merau Varagan. If we are reading the stories in the order of their publication, then this name means nothing to us as yet whereas if instead we have first read the later written prequel, "The Year Of The Ransom," then we already know of Varagan both as an "Exaltationist" and as a major villain in the Time Patrol series.

(Similarly, Dominic Flandry first meets his main adversary, Aycharaych, in "Honorable Enemies," but the reader of the completed Technic History has already met Aycharaych in The Day Of Their Return, written later though set earlier.)

When, in "...Ransom," Everard tells Wanda, "We've had to cope with results of [Exaltationists'] doings before now - 'before now' in terms of my life, that is - but they've always avoided capture" (p. 718), he may be referring to an incident that he describes to the Zorachs in "Ivory...", although, in that incident, one of the Exaltationists, Varagan's mistress, was captured.

The Shield Of Time informs us that, for Everard, "...Ransom" occurs immediately before "Ivory..." which, in turn, occurs immediately before The Shield... "Death And The Knight" interrupts Everard's and Wanda's holiday begun at the end of The Shield... In the later written "Star Of The Sea," Everard ends his relationship with Janne Floris in 1986 and we know that he meets Wanda, in "...Ransom", in October of that year.

When Janne asks, "'What will you do next, Manse?'", and he replies:

"'Who knows? We never have a dearth of problems.'" (p. 631)

- Anderson, writing this, knows that Everard's next problem will be the Exaltationists and a conquistador on a timecycle.

Thus, that entire concluding section of the series, describing the conflict with the Exaltationists and its aftermath, is tightly chronologically interconnected whereas between the earlier stories there are gaps in which we know that Everard has had other adventures, for example with the Vikings and Vinland, that have not been described to us.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

But Masefield in turn most likely drew on the same text from 1 Kings used by Poul Anderson for the title of his story. It would be an example of two writers using the same source in different ways.


Paul Shackley said...

I agree Masefield must have been quoting 1 Kings but I needed Anderson to make me aware of that!