Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Useless II

When, in Poul Anderson's The Corridors Of Time (London, 1968), some inhabitants of a fortieth century city are described as "...the useless..." (p. 143), we do not think that this is the view presented by the novel itself. On the contrary, it comments on a kind of society that can assign no useful role to many of its members.

However, some bureaucrats in such a society might well start to consider "the termination of human lives devoid of value." But this is not the view of the main villain, Brann. When our hero warns him of a planned Warden attack, Brann responds:

"'Oh, no... The final thrust. Firebolts loosed on my people.'" (p. 149)

" came to the American that Brann was not evil...he had spoken - he would speak - well of his Yuthoaz because they were not needlessly cruel. His anguish now was real. Evil had created him, and he served it, but behind those grey eyes lay a tiger's innocence." (ibid.)

"Evil" is a strong term to apply to a social system and, I am sure, can be applied to many besides that of the Rangers.

(Brann's physical description is identical with that of Merau Varagan, except for eye color. The same actor could play both, wearing contact lens.)

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