Thursday, 27 July 2017

Saving The Appearances

In many works of sf, bizarre events occur behind the scenes throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. To give just three examples:

the Time Traveller on his Time Machine is invisibly present in Richmond, London, from about 1895 and throughout the twentieth century;

timecycles arrive and depart in hidden locations;

Wardens and Rangers from two thousand years in the future enter or exit time corridors at particular times and places.

The fictional convention is that the on-stage events of the these two centuries proceeded as remembered or recorded despite such odd behind-the-scenes occurences. The appearances are saved.

However, I am not sure that Wells does save his appearances. On the one hand, he goes to elaborate lengths to conceal the names of the Time Traveller and of most of his dinner guests. On the other hand, he concludes Chapter 16, just before the Epilogue, by writing:

"The Time Traveller vanished three years ago. And, as everyone knows now, he has never returned." (p. 101)

If "...everyone knows...," then the Time Traveller, unlike Poul Anderson's various time travellers, is a public figure whose name is known and his vanishment is a matter of record.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And the Time Traveler SHOULD be expected to be well known if he invented self-adjusting furniture. I had to laugh the first time you mentioned that bit from Chapter One of THE TIME MACHINE!


Paul Shackley said...

Since the TIME MACHINE timeline had self-adjusting furniture by 1895, it is definitely a different timeline from ours.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And WE still don't have self adjusting furniture designed to mold themselves to the different contours of the persons sitting on them. Drat!