Monday, 26 September 2016

Spy Fiction

After graduation from the Time Patrol Academy in the American West of the Oligocene period:

"...each went back to the same year he had come from: the same hour."
-Poul Anderson, "Time Patrol" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), 2, p. 16.

Ostensibly, there has been no interruption to their lives. In reality, each:

has been physically and psychologically trained;
has gained an outline of history, both past and future, and also a more detailed knowledge of his own period;
now belongs to a powerful secret organization -

Everard " a list of contemporary agents (several of them holding jobs in places like military intelligence)..." (ibid.)

Thus, Everard, ostensibly a "special consultant to Engineering Studies Co..." (p. 16), has access to top secret information. His fellow Patrolmen who are intelligence agents will, in the 1950s, be on both sides of the Iron Curtain and will cooperate to keep history on track. The Cuban missile crisis must happen on schedule but must not result in World War III.

Here we have scope for a spy novel in which a CIA agent engaged in espionage against the USSR:

cooperates with his colleagues;
most of the time, works against his opposite numbers in the KGB, GRU etc;
occasionally, and very covertly, shares military intelligence with some of his overt opponents;
also unaccountably shares such information with one Everard, a civilian working with "Engineering Studies" -

- but the fact that this was all connected with time travel would not be mentioned. To learn more, the reader would have to follow the further adventures of Everard in Time Patrol and The Shield Of Time.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I would like to have known more about these Time Patrol agents who also "doubled" as agents of the intelligence agencies of the US, UK, or USSR. Did they ever suffer any conflicts of loyalty about where their allegiance lay, with the Patrol or the countries they ostensibly served?


    1. Sean,
      I think that they would have very clear guidelines/instructions/information about when to cooperate with each other and when to act in the interests of the separate countries. Those in the USSR would only be ensuring that the regime held together until it collapsed.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Dang! I should have thought of that, it makes sense!

      Yes, it makes sense to think Patrol agents in the KGB would focus on making sure the USSR did not somehow survive the collapse of 1991.


    3. Sean and Paul:
      There's the problem with having to be an "event police" like the Time Patrol. James Blish's Service from *The Quincunx of Time* took careful precautions to keep its knowledge of what would be from ever putting Service agents in the position of having to ensure the DEATH of someone -- especially one of their own.