Friday, 28 July 2017

Ways To Engage With The Future

Science fiction writers imagine futures. Some imagine many. How many does Poul Anderson have in short stories, novels and series?

Anderson's Nicholas van Rijn and Dominic Flandry live in different periods of a single future history although, of course, each regards his period as the present. Flandry makes provision for the post-Imperial Long Night, shown in a later story.

The characters in James Blish's "Beep"/The Quincunx Of Time not only live in our future but also receive messages from different periods of their future. Thus, they really do engage with the future although without travelling into it.

Characters in Anderson's Starfarers also receive messages from their future.

HG Wells' Time Traveller traverses the entire future of life on Earth.

Anderson's Manse Everard visits 2319 and we believe other future periods and also knows of the post-human Danellians a million years hence.

Anderson's Malcolm Lockridge visits several historical periods and two future periods but winds up in the Bronze Age.

Anderson's Jack Havig travels into the future, never to return. He will leave the Solar System by time travelling futureward within a slower than light interstellar spaceship to a colony planet.

Anderson's Martin Saunders time travels forward around the circle of time and back to 1973.

After recent posts, I now see Wells' Time Traveller flickering impalpably through time somewhere in the background behind all of Anderson's characters.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I can see your point about Wells' Time Travler "flickering impalpably through time somewhere in the background behind all of Anderson's characters." But not literally so--rather, thematically so--because Wells had pioneered the idea of time traveling. Wells, along with Jules Verne and possibly Mary Shelley, was one of the founders of science fiction.


Paul Shackley said...