Sunday, 26 July 2015

Through Time

Poul Anderson appropriately begins his Time Patrol series with an introductory short story, "Time Patrol," that alternates between several periods and locations:

a Time Patrol recruitment office in New York, 1954;
the Time Patrol Academy in the American Oligocene;
Everard's apartment in New York, 1954;
a warehouse in London, 1947;
Dalhousie & Roberts, Importers, the London Patrol office in 1894;
a London street scene in 1894;
a train, a sleepy village station and the Wyndham estate in 1894;
fifth century Britain and Canterbury (Cant-wara-Byrig);
London, 1944.

Everard's apartment becomes a base location with extra details added as the series progresses. When Everard returns from the Oligocene to 1954, he reads the headlines knowing in general what is to come next. Thus, he already knows the outlines of the second half of the twentieth century that Anderson and many of his readers then proceeded to live through although, of course, we do not read the name Gorbachev until a Time Patrol novel is published in 1990.

At the end of the story, Everard returns from 1944 to 1954:

"Everard climbed weakly aboard the hopper. And when he got off again, a decade had passed." (Time Patrol, p. 53)

The temporal vehicle, a literary descendant of Wells' Time Machine, is not yet called a "timecycle." We are made to feel that Everard has aged a decade because of his experiences in this story. The passage is subjectively instantaneous, unlike Wells', but nevertheless Everard seems to bear the weight of that ten years between '44 and '54.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I can't help but think it was VERY LIKELY Manse Everard would feel "weakly" as he climbed aboard the time hopper. Despite the training and study he had undergone at the Patrol academy in the Oligocene, his first major case AND the shock of meeting a very seldom seen Danellian must have been very stressful, even traumatic, for Everard.