Friday, 23 September 2016

Years And Yards

Space and time are unified in relativistic physics and sometimes in imaginative fiction:

"A good place to halt, about a thousand years from the big flat-roofed house..."
-SM Stirling, Against The Tide Of Years (New York, 1999), Chapter Fifteen, p. 226.

"...years..." should obviously read "...yards..." But people with time machines would be able to halt a thousand years before attacking a house!

HG Wells' Time Traveler escapes through time:

"In a moment my hand was on the lever, and I had placed a month between myself and these monsters."
-HG Wells, The Time Machine (London, 1973), 14 "The Further Vision," pp. 92-93.

Poul Anderson, of course, translates time literally into space in The Corridors Of Time. By walking or driving along a literal physical corridor, his characters travel centuries into the past or future. Wells perfected fictional time travel; Anderson made several original contributions to the concept.

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I checked my copy of Stirling's AGAINST THE TIDE OF YEARS and it too had the same typo on page 226: "years" instead of "yards." I must have automatically corrected it without pausing to stop when I recently read it again.

    Obviously, novels like Wells THE TIME MACHINE and similar works by successors such as Ward Moore, L. Sprague De Camp, Poul Anderson, and Stirling himself could only have been written in a society which had developed a true science. Most likely at a time when people raised with that science were starting to starting to boldly speculate about some of its wilder possibilities.