Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Moving House

Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006); The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991).

On this blog, we last saw Cynthia Denison blowing a cloud of smoke and speaking bitterly about time in the post, "The Time Patrol V," dated 5 February. The reference in the Time Patrol canon is Time Patrol, p. 56. In that volume, we last see Cynthia welcoming her husband Keith home while he thinks, "Home!...God!" (p. 112):

according to Keith's memory, he has lived as Cyrus the Great for sixteen years and been married to Cassandane for fourteen years, whereas he had lived with Cynthia for a few months and has forgotten what she looked like;

he had disliked but yielded to Cynthia's taste in decoration and now has the difficult task of relearning the habit of even asking a woman her opinion;

he has forgotten what their apartment building looked like and even the apartment number;

Cynthia has had to be warned about how much his looks have changed.

This happens some time in the late 1950's. For over a decade, the Time Patrol series was complete as four stories, each featuring Manson Everard and one other Time Patrolman:

Charlie Whitcomb, who, after leaving the Patrol and marrying Mary Nelson of the WAAF, serves guests high tea before a low fire in Victoria's London;
Keith who lives with Cynthia " their chrome-plated eyrie above New York" (p. 184);
"Jack Sandoval among tawny Arizona crags" (ibid.);
"Piet Van Sarawak (Dutch-Indonesian-Venusian, early twenty-fourth A. D.)" (p. 174).

We are surprised and pleased to meet Keith again in The Shield Of Time. In 1765 BC, the wanderer Denesh, beckoned by his gods, leaves the early Indo-Europeans with whom has been traveling, then, using the communicator in his ax, calls milieu headquarters in Babylon as Specialist Keith Denison. When he returns to the twentieth century, it will be to Paris in 1980. Cynthia will have explained their move away from New York to acquaintances there and they will take a twelve month holiday in Paris before starting their new identities in France as a peripatetic anthropologist and his wife. Remaining any longer in New York would have revealed their agelessness to those around them.

Stephen Tamberly, born in 1937 and recruited to the Patrol in 1968, lives with his wife, Helen, born in 1856, in London in 1885. Next, they might adopt Spanish colonial personae for a few decades. If the series had continued, we would have to be told about more house moves by Patrol members. Indeed, where would Everard have moved to after living in a New York apartment from 1955, or earlier, until 1990, or later?

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