Thursday, 27 March 2014

From Twain To Anderson

I found Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee implausible, tedious and unsatisfactory. However, any work by Twain is part of American and world literature and this work is a precursor of Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series. A Connecticut Yankee was of interest first because, despite its theme, it does not address the causality violation paradox (which even Wells merely hints at) and secondly because, as a pre-Wells text, it refers not to "time travel" but to "transposition of epochs."

The works that I think should be read before Time Patrol are:

A Connecticut Yankee;
The Time Machine;
Lest Darkness Fall by L Sprague de Camp;
Bring The Jubilee by Ward Moore;
Anderson's own Past Times, preferably revised.

Anderson's contributions to time travel could be published in four volumes:

an omnibus edition of his three circular causality time travel novels;
a collection of his time travel short stories;
his Time Patrol series in two volumes.

"Welcome," about time dilation, and "Time Heals," about temporal stasis, should both be in Past Times because they present characters surviving into the future and are appropriate precursors to "Flight to Forever," which is about travel to and beyond the end of the universe.

I think that I once read in an anthology an Anderson short story about some kind of future hive consciousness which sends to the present an agent whose activities in the present have the unintended effect of preventing that hive consciousness from coming into existence but I cannot remember the title and am not even sure about that story being by Anderson. Even if it is, I do not think that it would quite fit in with what I perceive as the theme of a Past Times: Revised Edition.

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