Monday, 1 August 2016
"'Get off that guilt trip. What are you, some kind of liberal or something? Let's put sentiment on the shelf and think about the matter from a Patrol point of view.'"
-Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), p. 597.
Come off it, Everard. Liberals aren't all that bad. It is a pity that "liberal" seems to have become a political swear word in the US. There has to be some label for the many respectable people who are neither to the left nor to the right. In fact, "liberals" can receive abuse from both directions! Apart from that one word, I agree with what Everard says. Guilt is sometimes appropriate but never "guilt trips" and sentiment needs to be put on the shelf. But what is the Patrol point of view? How many human moral systems exist in the period guarded by the Patrol and does the Patrol as such really endorse any of them? Might there be periods when Patrol agents simply assassinate those whose existence is undesirable from a "Patrol point of view?" Even within the twentieth century, Everard and Wanda differ on the issue of hunting animals.
Although the views of a character are not necessarily those of the author, I think that there is a good match between the views of Anderson and Everard. Shalten says:
"'The next stage that we contemplate is likely to be still more dangerous and taxing.' He sketched a smile. 'Or, on the basis of what I have heard about your political views, perhaps I should say 'dangerous and demanding.'" (The Shield Of Time, pp. 67-68)
"'They've got rent control there in these decades, you know. Always guarantees slums...'" (p. 180)
Thus, when Everard did not disapprove of homosexuality (see here), I took this also to reflect Anderson's view and maybe to express a change from an earlier story. Meanwhile, SM Stirling presents a very positive portrayal of a black lesbian. See, in particular, Island In The Sea Of Time, p. 391.