Wednesday, 3 August 2016

William Walker, Time Criminal

William Walker in SM Stirling's Island In The Sea Of Time (New York, 1998) is like a time criminal in Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series. Operating in 1250 B.C., Walker, if he succeeds, will soon have changed the course of world events so completely that he will no longer be living in anything like the ancient history of our Earth. It will be a whole new world with an unpredictable future. His house in the newly built town of Walkerburg has:

Franklin stoves;
sanded split log floors with rugs;
walls made straight with plumbing lines;
upper floors and staircases;
hinged doors;
glass-chimney oil lamps;
molded wax candles;
"' the palaces of the gods...'" (p. 415)

Slaves work the cornfields and meadows.

Walker reflects:

"The seed kernel of an empire. Archaeologists may dig it up someday. The place where the dynasty that ruled the world for a thousand years was born. If things went well, he'd move somewhere more convenient in a couple of years - the site of London, probably - but this was the first ground that had been his." (p. 447)

There will be no Londinium/London but instead an earlier city named after Walker. In the absence of a Time Patrol, it is to be hoped that the Nantucketer expeditionary force is going to foil his schemes.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Even more basically, simply by ARRIVING when and where they did, the Nantucketers had ALREADY changed the history of the world. Merely, the ACCIDENTAL decimation of the Indians by the common cold had also changed history. Walker and his ambitions had merely hastened that process.


    1. Sean,
      Yes, indeed. The mere arrival of Nantucket has already changed a lot. But Walker is going all out to overturn everything.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Quite true! And I'm not surprised somebody from either Nantucket or the "Eagle" developed ambitions of conquering an empire. The temptation to use the more advanced technology and knowledge Nantucket had brought would have been very strong for SOME persons. I wish Walker had at least not behaved so much like a Draka!


    3. LOKI: There are no men like me.
      OLD GERMAN: There are ALWAYS men like you.
      -- *The Avengers*, 2012

    4. Hi, David!

      Too true, in the sense that some men are going to be evil, treacherous, and tricksy.