Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Holger's Personal Quest

Harry Turtledove, "The Man Who Came Late" IN Greg Bear and Gardner Dozois, Editors, Multiverse: Exploring Poul Anderson's Worlds (Burton, MI, 2014), pp. 37-60.

"Alianora..." (p. 37)

Why do I quote only the opening word? Although the title of this story makes us think that it might be a sequel to Anderson's "The Man Who Came Early," the opening word reveals that it is instead a sequel to his Three Hearts And Three Lions. The opening paragraph gives us two colors, green and yellow, and five flavors, peas, onion, fennel, salt and pork.

Alianora wonders whether the war against Chaos thirty years previously was meant to bring about only uneventful villages scattered through plains and forests. However, she is able to imagine nothing better than:

"...ordinary lives free from anything worse than ordinary fears..." (p. 38)

Living later, we can imagine an alternative, progress.

I would have liked a story in which Holger found Alianora as he had left her in St Grimmin's Church. However, Turtledove follows his premise. It takes time for Holger to find his way back to the Carolingian universe. Therefore, time has passed also for Alianora.

This need not have been the case. The passage of time is not always uniform in different universes as we have seen in Operation Chaos, Three Hearts... and the Narnia Chronicles. Holger returned from the Carolingian universe without loss of time in our universe so could this not have worked the other way? Or does it mean that even more time passes in the Carolingian universe than in ours?

In any case, Turtledove has opted for the passage of time so we have to accept this premise of the story.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Harry Turtledove had Alianora reflecting "...ordinary lives free from anything worse than ordinary fears." I don' think that such a small thing! In fact, that is exactly what the state, any state or ruler, should strive for, that most people should be able to live their lives as peacefully as possible.

And, yes, I too would prefer to see Holger rejoining Alianora when only a little time had passed for her. And s somewhat more for Holger, to keep things interesting.