Thursday, 3 August 2017

Time Travel Villains

Some attempted sequels to The Time Machine present time-travelling Morlocks but the Morlocks belong just where Wells leaves them, creeping through the dark and confounded when the Time Traveller strikes a match.

Poul Anderson presents several much more appropriate time-travelling villains:

misguided individual fanatics, like Stane;
Neldorians from the 205th millennium, an age of bandits;
the much more sophisticated Exaltationists.

Neldorians are thugs. Exaltationists are Nietzchean egoists. I have just realized that they make an excellent contrast. The Time Patrol series exhausts the idea of time criminals, then goes beyond them - the ultimate threat being temporal chaos.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

The Neldorians are thugs? I agree! And your comment here reminded me of Anderson's "The Nest." That too features time traveling thugs, with several interesting twists. One being how the thuggish time travelers shown were from the PAST, Norman Sicily. Another being that it is very dangerous for people even from advanced societies to UNDERESTIMATE people from the past. Time travelers from the future made the bad mistake of underestimating the quick wits and shrewdness of Hugo, one of King Roger of Sicily's bastard sons, and paid for it. And I like the half Neanderthal character we see in "The Nest."

Hmmm, it might be possible to think of "The Nest" as being a Time Patrol story showing us temporal criminals the Patrol did not manage to catch.


S.M. Stirling said...

The Australian government used light aircraft to contact villages in the interior highlands of New Guinea who'd never seen outsiders.

In one such village, the day after the aircraft landed and tentative contact was established (through an interpreter who knew a related language more-or-less comprehensible to the locals) the "big man" of the village offered the Australians half his pigs if they'd fly him over a neighboring village with which his own was at feud.

He wanted to drop rocks on their heads.

In other words, this Neolithic man spontaneously invented strategic bombing the first time he saw an aircraft.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

Very interesting and IRONIC. The fact this Neolithic headman almost immediately grasped some of the possibilities of using aircraft for military purposes shows how intelligent even the most primitive of persons can be. And the "irony" comes from me thinking of how this incident demolishes Jean Jacques Rousseau's fantasies about the "noble savage."


Anonymous said...

Kaor, Sean!

Going by memory, I think the narrator said, "I'm about one quarter Neanderthal myself, and proud of it. That's where I get my red hair and broad back. We'lol say nothing about brains." And, decades after the story was published, geneticists discovered that at least some Neanderthals in fact did have red hair, although their gene for red hair was different from ours, somodern European redheads probably do not owe their coloration to Neanderthal ancestry.

Best Regards,
Nicholas D. Rosen

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Nicholas!

I looked up "The Nest," and you are right, Trebuen is only one fourth Neanderthal! And I recall how, in Anderson's "The Long Remembering," Neanderthals are described as being largely blond haired. I recall reading of geneticists estimate Caucasians and Asiatic peoples have about three percent of their ancestry from Neanderthals. I am pleased to think I may well have some Neanderthal ancestry!

I think it's cool that some red and blond haired people may have gotten their coloration from the Neanderthals!

Regards! Sean