Saturday, 6 August 2016

"My Object All Sublime"

Poul Anderson, "My Object All Sublime" IN Anderson, The Collected Short Works Of Poul Anderson, Volume 2: The Queen Of Air And Darkness (NESFA Press, Framingham, MA, 2009), pp. 337-341.

"My Object All Sublime," uncollected before, is collected here. Only seven pages long, it can be divided into three parts:

the first two or so pages are mainstream fiction;

the remaining five pages are mainly a "play within the play," as the first person narrator's friend tells him a time travel story;

the surprise ending discloses that the time travel story is true and that the narrator is a protagonist.

Anderson's Past Times collection could be revised to contain at least:

four stories about travel to the past;
"The Barrier Moment," set in the present;
"My Object All Sublime," about travel from the future to the present, then to the past;
three stories about travel to the future.

In "My Object...," the futurians mention several aspects of their future society:

"...great blinding energies..." (p. 339);
"...genetic changelings..." (ibid.);
"...imaginary wars..." (ibid.);
"...talking stones..." (ibid.);
a "...blind hunter..." (ibid.);
"...a gravity reducer..." (p. 343);
"...a cell stimulater..." (ibid.);
"...a nerve gun..." (ibid.)

We mentioned Heinlein's Temporal Bureau to compare it with Anderson's Time Patrol, then mentioned "My Object All Sublime" because, like the Bureau, the futurians of "My Object..." practice exile in time.

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I definitely will soon reread "My Object All Sublime."

    IMAGINARY wars? Futuristic fictions?

    Apparently, the criminal in "My Object All Sublime" was a politician whose ambitions would have cost the lives of millions of people if he had succeeded. So, it's no surprise he was sentenced to permanent exile in the past.

    I think Gilbert & Sullivan's THE MIKADO has been quoted or alluded from more than once by SF writers such as PA and Reginald Bretnor because that operetta more than once touches of law and justice, crime and punishment.

    Yes, a COMPLETE COLLECTED WORKS OF POUL ANDERSON should include a volume called PAST TIMES including "My Object All Sublime."

    Sean

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