Monday, 17 March 2014

Time War Intelligence

Poul Anderson, The Corridors Of Time (London, 1968).

Wardens and Rangers think that their global ideological power struggle in the late fortieth century will be settled when one side judges that it is stronger and launches a final onslaught. How will building strength in earlier periods help with this? Mere manpower will not be decisive. Small groups joining together to form armies could be brought through the time corridors but they could hardly be trained to use energy weapons so as to affect the outcome of a fortieth century technological conflict that had already destroyed Mars.

Rereading the novel, I still find passages that illuminate how the two sides gather intelligence through time. Reconnaissance establishes that there is no large-scale use of energy devices in Northern Europe during the second millennium BC. A report from a Warden survey party in Ireland, where time portals are a century apart from those in Denmark, confirms that the Danish port of Aviladaro still stands as yet unconquered by encroaching Battle Ax people a century after 1827 BC which is the first year of the earliest gate in the Danish time corridor. No Battle Ax conquest means no Ranger influence yet. Therefore, Storm concludes that she will be safe from encounters with Rangers if she exits the corridor in 1827 BC, then travels by ship from Avildaro to the Warden base in Crete.

However, wheel tracks indicate that the Battle Ax people have come further than was thought. The Wardens, thinking that this station was not important enough to scout intensively, do not know what will happen in the Avildaro region later in 1827 BC. As we will learn, a great deal, the outcome of which will be hidden from them.

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