Monday, 1 August 2016

Simple Or Complicated

Fiction about space travel can describe a single journey to another planet (HG Well's The First Men In The Moon, CS Lewis' Out Of The Silent Planet etc) or extensive travel throughout the galaxy (Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization etc). Fiction about time travel can describe, e.g., a single round trip to the future (Wells' The Time Machine), a single one way trip to the past (SM Stirling's Island In The Sea Of Time) or extensive travel throughout history (Anderson's Time Patrol series).

Of the works cited, we might classify Wells, Lewis and Stirling as presenting "simple" scenarios and Anderson as presenting "complicated" scenarios. However, it would be a serious error to relegate the "simple" scenarios to any sort of secondary, more simplistic, status. Wells' Moon and Lewis' Mars are as well realized as any of the numerous planets in Anderson's Technic History. Wells speculates about the future of life on Earth and Stirling informs us about the Americas, Eurasia and Africa in 1250 A.D. as well as Anderson informs about his many past periods. There are consequences of the transposition of several thousand people and their dwellings from 1998 A.D. to 1250 B.C. and Stirling makes good use of hundreds of pages to spell out those consequences. Thus, Island... is a substantial work on time travel, comparable to Time Patrol.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Poul Anderson did write one story which reminds me of Wells single round trip to the future and back: "Flight To Forever." In fact, early and rather crude tho that story was, it out did Wells work in one respect: Anderson's story was a round trip thru the entire history of the cosmos!