Sunday, 14 May 2017
Poul Anderson's Carl Farness, investigating the origin of a story about Odin betraying his followers, finds that he himself has to betray them. Anderson's Janne Floris, investigating what inspired Veleda's pagan prophecies, finds that she did. Michael Moorcock's Karl Glogauer, investigating the crucifixion, is crucified. Robert Heinlein's Lazarus Long (I think) realized while proposing a toast in the twentieth century that he was initiating what would become an annual tradition among the Howard Families.
This is the time travel observer effect. It is usually, although not necessarily, also the circular causality paradox. Without Glogauer, Christianity would have existed but with even less historical truth. But, without Farness, that part of Northern mythology would not have existed. When Everard has deduced Carl's role, Carl has to do it. Hence, "The Sorrow of Odin the Goth."