Thursday, 8 September 2016

Against The Tide Of Years: Prologue

OK. We are starting to look at SM Stirling, Against The Tide Of Years: A Novel of the Change (ROC, New York, 1999), which I am reading for the first time. The text begins, as it should on p. 1 and concludes on p. 454 with a verse about "...the Golden Road to Samarkand," although I am puzzled as to whether this verse is from the poem by Flecker.

The novel comprises:

a two-page Prologue;
twenty six numbered but untitled chapters;
a five page Epilogue.

The type is small and there is very little blank space between the chapters. Nantucket is still in the prehistoric past. The Prologue is dated 2 After the Event and the Epilogue is 10 A.E. Chapter One begins with a date of 8 A.E., followed by 2 A.E. in brackets, but presumably this will be explained.

The Prologue begins by quoting a History of the Republic of Nantucket published in 57 A.E. This in turn begins by stating that the Event is an insoluble mystery " time itself..." (p. 1) Thus, we are persuaded to accept the unexplained premise of the trilogy. It is a fair comment on life, anyone's life, that time is a mystery.

In the Prologue, our villain, Walker, sells guns to Agamemnon. The time travelers are changing not just history but mythology.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

The thing to remember about Stirling's use of a date followed by another date in parentheses is how it shows his use of flashbacks.

Agamemnon? Alas, in the Nantucket timeline we will never get an ILIAD or ODYSSEY.