Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Time Patrol And Island In The Sea Of Time

We already knew that Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series was a rich work. Additionally, I have been impressed by how often it has been appropriate to refer to the Time Patrol while discussing SM Stirling's Island In The Sea Of Time without implying that Island... imitates Anderson's series.

The points of comparison have been:

the reality of the past;
the absence of coffee in the past;
how to deal with shamans;
battles of the gods;
attempts to prevent history from being changed;
dreams of horned men;
pre-Columbian North America;
small town American time travelers.

Far from the later work imitating the earlier work, both are, in the true sf tradition, different original answers to a common basic question: what are some of the imaginable consequences of time travel with causality violation?

Would time travelers find it necessary to organize a police force to prevent causality violations?
Suppose not just an individual time traveler but an entire town were to be transported into the prehistoric past.

Another comparison that has just hit me: James Blish has entire cities crossing interstellar distances faster than light.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

To answer your first sub question: yes, I think some kind of temporal police force would be necessary if time traveling was or is real. Esp. to prevent history from being wantonly changed over and over and over. And such time cops would probably have "jurisdiction" over all time travelers up till at least the era the Time Force was founded.

Your second sub question: no. Because while Nantucket was mysteriously cast back into the past 1250 BC, there is no indication the Islanders will be doing time traveling.


David Birr said...

Paul and Sean:
Not the PRE-historic past, but Eric Flint's *1632* or *Ring of Fire* series began with a small town being transported into the middle of the Thirty Years War. (Getting a trade agreement to import coffee was an early priority.)

The series is STILL exploring the consequences of people learning what the future would've held ... and in too many cases, not realizing that those history books might no longer be a fully accurate guide, because circumstances have already begun changing....

Sean, it didn't seem to me that Paul was talking about doing any MORE time traveling -- just that where, or rather WHEN, they are now, how will they affect things?

Paul Shackley said...

I knew that there was another time-displaced town. Thank you for identifying it.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, David!

Darn! I should have remembered Eric Flint's 1632: RING OF FIRE and its successors. Truth to say, I came to be dissatisfied by the book. First, I came across "intimations" of anti-Catholicism, which irritated me. I say "intimations" because I don't think Eric Flint meant or intended them. Second, and more seriously, the Gretchen chapters wearied me. I thought them implausible and over the top.

I did like THE GALILEO AFFAIR and greatly enjoyed it. And I do do remember how the appearance of Grantville, in the Holy Roman Empire of the 1630s all at once began immediately changing history.

And I agree I misunderstood Paul's second subquestion. Thanks for clarifying matters!