Friday, 18 July 2014

People From The Future

In Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series, Manson Everard and colleagues from the twentieth century visit various historical, and sometimes prehistorical, periods. However, the rationale for the series is that time travel will be discovered and the Time Patrol founded in our future. Thus, Everard meets several futurians.

The recruitment officer, Mr Gordon, has dark beardless skin and Mongolian eyes over a Caucasian nose but we are not told when he is from. His white-skinned hairless assistant may be from the thirty second century, as I said in the previous post.

Dard Kelm, the instructor for Everard's group of recruits, is from 9573 AD but we learn nothing about that period. A fellow recruit is from 1972, eighteen years after Everard's recruitment date. A veteran of the Martian war of 3890 teaches Everard how to handle spaceships. This instructor tells Everard that, when he was shot up off Jupiter, the Patrol built him a new body and that he preferred a permanent post at their Academy in the Oligocene rather than returning home to live under the Guidance Corps. He adds that he takes vacations in many eras, including the decadent stage of the Third Matriarchy.

Thus, although the focus of the series is historical fiction, future periods are matter-of-factly referred as if they were equally real.

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