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 "...like 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:

  1. 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.

    Sean

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