Monday, 1 August 2016

Time Patrol And Terran Intelligence

(i) Two vast organizations.

(ii) Both "conservative": designed to preserve a status quo.

(iii) Speaking not English but Temporal and Anglic, respectively.

(iv) The Patrol protects a million years of Terrestrial history whereas Intelligence protects an interstellar empire with a four hundred light year diameter.

(v) Both impart intensive mental and physical training.

(vi) Intelligence is run by human beings; the Patrol is not.

(vii) The Patrol is staffed by human beings; Intelligence also employs other species.

10 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I'm flattered that an earlier comment of mine seems to have inspired this blog piece of yours. A few comments!

    Your point (i): agree.
    Point (ii): agree. Plus, I don't think it is necessarily bad for an intelligence or police agency to defend a "status quo." Both because what is being defended may be worth preserving and because the alternative is very likely to be worse.

    Your point (iii): agree.
    Your point (iv): just a not so slight error about the size of the Terran Empire. It ruled over a diameter of space four HUNDRED, not "thousand" light years across.

    Your point (v): agree. I think this is where my earlier comment "inspired" you.

    Your point (vi): I agree with what's said about the Terran Intelligence Corps. But, it's a nice question whether the ultimate masters of the Time Patrol, the Danellians, are human or posthuman. The latter is the term used in the Time Patrol stories. But exactly how should "posthuman" be defined? What makes a Danellian genetically different from US? The one time we see a Danellian close up in the Patrol stories, he or she did not look all that different from "primitive" humans.

    Your point (vii): I agree with both points. And the Merseians had non Merseians as well. Most famously Aycharaych.

    Sean

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    1. Sean,
      Thank you for the size correction. Manse meets a Danellian who does not look human in "Time Patrol."
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      A region of space 400 light years across is plenty vast enough for me!

      Yes, I remember the Danellian "seen" in "Time Patrol." Not like what see at the very end of THE SHIELD OF TIME. The apparent contradiction is puzzling. Are we to assume the Danellians were able to choose how they appeared to "primitive" humans?

      Sean

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    3. Sean,
      I think that the 2nd guy deffo affected that form to reassure Manse and Wanda.
      Paul.

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    4. Kaor, Paul!

      Considering Manse's frightened reaction to the glimpse he saw of the Danellian in "Time Patrol," that makes sense.

      Sean

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  2. Paul and Sean:
    That there are no nonhumans -- assuming we still count Danellians as human -- in the Time Patrol raises an intriguing set of questions. Are there NO other intelligent species? How far into space have humans gone by the Danellians' time ... and they found NOBODY?

    Aside from the moral problem of whether aliens' history should be protected from interference, consider that if aliens learn to time travel, their actions might, directly or indirectly, influence HUMAN history.

    For example: Alien species X arrives at a potential colony planet to find humans have already colonized. Feeling cheated, an Ekser (Nick van Rijn reference!) scientist invents time travel and gives his people a head start on space travel. In the revised timeline, when the humans arrive to start their colony, it's already occupied by Eksers (possibly with itchy trigger fingers). Any human history based on humanity having that colony is now down the drain. Ungood; perhaps doubleplus ungood.

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    Replies
    1. David,
      Danellians are what come after us in evolution so they are the time travel equivalent of extraterrestrials - extratemporals. We know that time travel was discovered in a galactic period but we are not told whether that was in a humans only galaxy because Anderson only used the series to describe travel to our past.
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, David and Paul!

      David, the questions you raised are worthy of consideration. I can't help but wonder how plausible time travel could be if other races also had time traveling. The mere fact some very likely did would, all by itself, affect US and change our history. Could it be Poul Anderson thought it would be impossibly difficult to write Time Patrol stories if he also had to take non humans into account?

      I personally simply don't believe ours is the only intelligent race in the cosmos. I simply can't that out of the billions of galaxies which exist, only the Milky Way galaxy had intelligent life. Ir'a simply not plausible!

      And "Ekser" was a Nicholas van Rijn reference? He used that term in "Hiding Place." (Smiles)

      Paul: interesting thought, the Danellians, despite being descended from homo Sapiens, were also the equivalent of non human extraterrestrials.

      Sean

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    3. Sean:
      Yes, of course. I started to call them "species A" and then realized if I made it "X" I could quote Old Nick from "Hiding Place." He may well be my favorite Anderson character.

      And Paul: yes, I know PA never told us; I simply thought it was an area for speculation on how the Time Patrol's job could become even more horribly complicated.

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    4. Hi, David!

      "Ekser" was a neat way of using a van Rijn neologism!

      Like you, I like Nicholas van Rijn. And Dominic Flandry as well.

      Exactly! For the Time Patrol to also struggle with the consequences of time traveling NON HUMANS would make its job even more "horribly complicated."

      Sean

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