Sunday, 11 December 2016

Dated Narratives

In most later installments of the Time Patrol series, dates are used for section headings. Thus:

in "The Sorrow of Odin the Goth" -

372
1935
300
etc;

in "The Year of the Ransom" -

10 September 1987
3 June 1533 [Julian calendar]
15 April 1610
etc;

in The Shield Of Time -

1987 A.D.
1985 A.D.
209 B.C.
etc;

in "Death and the Knight" -

Paris, Tuesday, 10 October 1307
San Francisco, Thursday, 8 March 1990
Harfleur, Wednesday, 11 October 1307
etc.

This demonstrates no less than four different ways to do it. "Death and the Knight" does it best, specifying place, day of the week, day of the month, month and year. This is an efficient way to present a time travel narrative. Unfortunately, "Death and the Knight" was the last installment.

"Star of the Sea" is structured differently. Its headings are:

I
1-9
10 A.D. 60
II
11 A.D. 49
12 A.D. 43
13
14 A.D. 43
15 A.D. 70
16-19
III
20
IV

Sections 1-20 are the fictional narrative set in historical or contemporary periods whereas I, II, III and IV are mythological writing. Changes in the myths reflect historical changes. III is about the goddess Nehalennia and IV is a prayer to the Virgin Mary, as discussed in recent posts.

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Yes, I agree the way Poul Anderson dated the different sections of "Death And The Knight" was efficient, and helped to prevent readers from getting confused. I don't know if it would have worked for all of the Time Patrol stories, but for some such a system would have been useful.

    Merry Christmas! Sean

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