Thursday, 4 August 2016

Bureau, Service And Patrol

Three Organizations

The Temporal Bureau in Robert Heinlein's "'-All You Zombies-'" operates in an immutable timeline;

the Service in James Blish's "Beep" also operates in an immutable timeline;

the Service reconsidered in Blish's The Quincunx Of Time operates in what its members usually assume is an immutable timeline;

Poul Anderson's Time Patrol operates in a mutable timeline.

Their Functions

The Service is an "Event Police" because it ensures that future events occur on schedule;

the Patrol is also an Event Police because it protects past events from either extratemporal intervention or quantum fluctuation;

the Bureau does not have to be an Event Police because its events are fixed - the Bureau can prevent a war if the war was prevented but not if it was not prevented;

the Patrol and the Bureau are time travel organizations.

Three Similarities Between Bureau And Patrol

Guion invites Everard to dinner:

"Superficially the offer meant little. An Unattached agent of the Time Patrol drew on unlimited funds. Actually it meant a great deal. Guion wanted to spend lifespan on him."
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 4.

"...if you based yourself in a milieu before the technology to overleap space-time was developed, you didn't keep any future stuff around that you didn't absolutely require, and you kept it hidden or well disguised." (pp. 177-178)

"...I reopened the case, took out a packet of hundred-dollar bills, checked that the numbers were compatible with 1963. The Temporal Bureau doesn't care how much you spend (it costs nothing) but they don't like unnecessary anachronisms."
-Robert Heinlein, "-All You Zombies-" IN Heinlein, The Unpleasant Profession Of Jonathan Hoag (London, 1980), pp. 126-137 AT p. 134.

So far, two similarities: unlimited funds and dislike of anachronisms. A third is ways of dealing with miscreants. The Patrol has an "'...exile planet...'" (Shield.., p. 43). The Bureau practices temporal exile:

"...a general court-martial will exile you for a year in a nasty period, say 1974 with its strict rationing and forced labour." (ibid.)

Remember that? (I was still at University so I must have missed the rationing and labor.)

9 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And Poul Anderson also wrote a story featuring the idea that a future society with time traveling sentenced its worse criminals to permanent exile into the past. To places where they would have a miserable and probably short life.

    I looked thru many of my Anderson books and failed to find the story. Exasperating, because I know I've read it more than once!

    Sean

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    1. Sean,
      It is in one of the NESFA collections.
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Thanks! I'll try again.

      Sean

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  2. Paul and Sean:
    Is that the one where they revisited a criminal later because it turned out he'd prospered -- and when he pleaded that their taking him away would be unjustly hard on the family he'd developed, the agent told him his loved ones' suffering was part of his punishment ... or am I thinking of something by a different author?

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    1. Hi, David!

      Not quite. The police officers transferring this criminal to his exile in the past met some kind of misfortune and the criminal escaped to the 20th century, where he did prosper and had a family. Years later the convict was tracked down and sent to where he had originally been sentenced: to Baghdad, the year before the invading Mongols mercilessly sacked it.

      I really need to find that story again!

      Sean

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    2. I think you are both describing the same story.

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    3. "My Object All Sublime." NESFA vol 2.

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    4. Kaor, Paul!

      We were! I checked the same volume you cited, and it WAS the story David and I were talking about. I'm chagrined that I missed it in my previous efforts to find it.

      I'm almost sure PA took the title "My Object All Sublime" from one of the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Perhaps THE MIKADO?

      Sean

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