Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Peaks Of Time

Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series has no single peak or summit. It is like a mountain range. In the original collection, the summit was definitely "Delenda Est," in which history is changed despite the Patrol's best efforts and has to be changed back.

In the second volume, Time Patrolman, the first story is another Manse Everard adventure whereas the second, "The Sorrow Of Odin The Goth," is a completely different kind of narrative with Everard in the background. I suggested that it be included in an anthology of the best time travel stories, although I now think that Anderson's later "Star Of The Sea" is even better - but perhaps too long to be anthologized.

The Time Patrol novel, The Shield Of Time, is a summit on several counts:

it concludes the story of the Exaltationists;
it makes Wanda Tamberly a continuing character and incidentally reintrodues Keith Denison;
it introduces two original concepts, a fluctuation in space-time-energy and a personal causal nexus;
it climaxes with a Danellian finally explaining the meaning of the Patrol to Everard and Wanda;
it ends with Everard and Wanda beginning a holiday and, we suspect, a relationship - this latter is confirmed in "Death And The Knight."

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