Friday, 9 September 2016

Before And After The Event

SM Stirling, Against The Tide Of Years (New York, 1999).

Words change their meanings with context. "After the Event" means since Nantucket arrived in the prehistoric past, which thus became the Nantucketers' present, whereas "Before the Event" refers to their memories of a twentieth century that does not exist in their current timeline.

By 8 A.E., some Nantucketers have had children who are now a few years old and thus are beginning to learn about the world although their entire lives to date have been "After the Event." Some Nantucketers are a few years older but nevertheless too young to have many memories from "Before the Event."

Poul Anderson's Time Patrollers have past bases that exist for a very long time - the Academy for half a million years - but they do not start communities to exist for many generations in the past whereas the Nantucketers have no choice in the matter.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I would not have said the Nantucketers found themselves stranded in the "pre-historic" past. The ancient civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia had been literate for at least 2000 years, after all. And even Achaean Greece had been literate for a long time, despite the clumsy script they then used. And, of course there was the literate culture of Shang Dynasty China, among several others!


Paul Shackley said...

Not prehistoric? Maybe a mixture? North America was prehistoric and Agamemnon is not a historical figure.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul

I should have said that PARTS of the world Nantucket found itself in was still "pre-historic." Including the Americas, because I don't think the Olmecs had yet developed any kind of writing.

There MIGHT have been a real king of Mycenae called "Agamemnon." I do agree he was probably did not strongly resemble the Homeric Agamemnon.

But, King Shagarakti-Shuriash and his Kastiliash IV of Babylon were real, actual, historical figures. And so was their enemy Tukulti-Ninurta of Assyria and contemporaries such as Ramesses II of Egypt.