Monday, 10 August 2015

The Forest And The Past

Poul Anderson not only puts his readers inside the lives of the people of a past age but also shows us his time travelers embedding themselves in those lives. I will quote a slightly longer passage than usual, from "Star Of The Sea":

"They could have sprung back to Amsterdam's comforts, but it would have wasted lifespan, not in the shuttling but in the commuting to and from quarters there, the shucking and redonning of barbarian garb, perhaps most the changes back and forth of mind-set. Let them rather dwell in this archaic land, become intimate not only with its people but also with its natural world. Nature - the wilderness, the mysteries of day and night, summer and winter, storm, stars, growth, death - pervaded it and the souls of the folk. You could not really understand them, feel with them, unless you had yourself entered into the forest and let it enter into you.

"Floris had chosen the site, a remote hilltop overlooking woodlands that reached to every horizon. None but a rare hunter ever saw it, and quite likely none had ever climbed to the bare ridge. Northern Europe was so thinly populated; a tribe numbering fifty thousand was large, and spread over a wide territory. Another planet would have been less alien to this country than was the twentieth century." (Time Patrol, p. 539)

Thus, a small population living directly with day and night and the seasons in a continent that is mostly forest.

Because they are time travelers, Everard and Janne also learn about the earlier exploits of their older selves.

"Floris...gazed past the river and the forest beyond, northeasterly toward an unseen shore." (p. 570)

What is on that shore in her past is her older self perceived as a goddess. In "Ivory, And Apes, And Peacocks," patient detective work in Tyre informs Everard of an "...onslaught of demons...(p. 313) in which he will participate.

No comments: