Thursday, 20 July 2017

Carl And Jorith

Poul Anderson, "The Sorrow of Odin the Goth" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (Riverdale, NY, 2006), pp. 333-465.

Carl and Laurie Farness had spent their younger days in the 1960s and '70s. In 1980, when Carl was teaching in a Pennsylvanian college, he was recruited to the Time Patrol. Finishing that academic year, they moved "abroad," to 1930's New York, where Laurie, no longer a faculty wife, became a successful painter.

Carl's first assignment was to record Gothic songs and stories from 300 to 372. In 300-302, the Gothic teenager, Jorith, bore his son but died in childbirth despite the intervention of Doctor Kwei-fei Mendoza whom Carl had summoned from a lunar hospital in 2319, the only time we see anything of the future in the entire Time Patrol series. I will summarize part of the subsequent dialogue between Carl and Mendoza (pp. 375-378).

Mendoza: You should have left that child alone.
Carl: She was not a child. The relationship helped my mission. We were in love.
Mendoza: Did you tell your wife? What does she say?
Carl: She said that she did not mind. We grew up in the '60s and '70s.
Mendoza: "'Fashions come and go.'" (p. 375)
Carl: We are monogamous by preference. I love my wife.
Mendoza: She let you have your middle-aged fling.
Carl: I loved Jorith.
Mendoza: An aneurysm of the anterior cerebral artery would have caused death whoever she had married. You made her happier than most women of her period. But revisiting Jorith is forbidden. The Patrol and your wife need you. You are a decent man who blundered through inexperience.

Does Mendoza represent a pre- or post-'60s morality?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I would say Dr. Mendoza does not represent either a pre- or post 1960s morality. Rather, she was trying to be both decent AND pragmatic.