Friday, 5 May 2017

The Old Days

Novels reflect life and time. Even a thriller is about people and people can always reflect on age and change. A French innkeeper reflects:

"It was not like the old days. He shrugged his shoulders philosophically. But then no day was like the day before, and no century like the previous one, and...
"'Quite so,' said Bond."
-Ian Fleming, Casino Royale (London, 1965), Chapter 22, p. 162.

Would a time traveler be able to retrieve the times that have passed? Jack Finney's characters happily settle down in earlier decades. Poul Anderson's Charlie Whitcomb contentedly relocates to Victorian England. When Carl Farness, born in 1936, joins the Time Patrol, he regards the thirties as a "marvelous milieu" in which to live, especially since he can unobtrusively install air conditioning. But Manse Everard sees it differently. See here.

Bond's observation of the inn could have been written by Anderson:

"...the inn must be very lonely in winter-time with the big seas and the noise of the wind in the pines." (pp. 161-162)

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Can persons X,Y, or Z live happily in this or that past milieu, assuming the possibility of time travel? It all depends! Some, like Charlie Whitcomb or Carl Farness, obviously, could live happily in past periods. Others, like Manse Everard, could not. At least, Manse could not live in the period of his boyhood.