Thursday, 20 July 2017

Literary And Conceptual Sequels

Can Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series, "The Queen of Air and Darkness" and "The Word to Space" be called alternative sequels to Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series? "The Queen of Air and Darkness" is a sequel to Anderson's own Rustum History.

I think that there are also "conceptual sequels," e.g.:

Olaf Stapledon's Last And First Men is a conceptual sequel to four works by Wells because it does different things with the Wellsian concepts of space travel, time travel, Martian invasion and future history;

CS Lewis' Ransom Trilogy and unfinished Ransom novel are Christian replies to those same four works;

Anderson's Time Patrol series is a conceptual sequel to one of those works because -

timecycles replace the Time Machine;
human evolution into Danellians replaces human devolution into Morlocks and Eloi;
Anderson systematically addresses those "curious possibilities of anachronism and of utter confusion" at which Wells merely hints.

All literature is a single long sequence from ancient epics to modern novels, from the gods of Gilgamesh to the post-organic intelligences of Anderson's Genesis.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree that in Anderson's Time Patrol "history" mankind evolved or developed into the Danellians rather than degenerating into Morlocks and Eloi. But I have suggested that the Danellian civilization might also eventually fall. Which made me wonder who might have succeeded the Danellians.

Yes, authors like L. Sprague De Camp, Robert Heinlein, and Poul Anderson were successors of H.G. Wells in developing those "curious possibilities of anachronism and of utter confusion" which is part of the sub-genre of time traveling science fiction. Wells was a pioneer and could not reasonably be expected to have thought of all those "possibilities."