Friday, 14 August 2015

Two Futures

Are there (m)any parallels between the future histories of the Time Patrol and of Technic Civilization? There may be some similarities between the periods of Nicholas van Rijn and of the Nine who discover time travel. The main similarity is commercial rivalry between giant combines on an interstellar scale but there are more dissimilarities.

In van Rijn's (Technic) timeline, the Polesotechnic League of spacefaring merchants lasts from the twenty third century until 2550 whereas the Nine discover time travel in 19352 AD, thus the one hundred and ninety fourth century, considerably later. The League coalesces into one cartel that merges with the government of the Solar Commonwealth, a rival cartel that controls several extra-Solar governments and the independent companies led by van Rijn's Solar Spice & Liquors Company but all this happens within a sphere a few hundred light years across whereas, in the other timeline, "'...the various governments were pawns in a galactic game.'" (Time Patrol, p. 9) - and the rivalries between combines were not only commercial but also genetic.

"'The time effect was the by-product of a search for a means of instantaneous transportation...'" (ibid.)

- whereas the technology of the Solar Commonwealth and even of its several successor civilizations was nowhere near to seeking a means of instantaneous transportation, let alone finding time travel in the process.

But could the Chorite Heresiarchy, which is breaking up in 19352 AD, exist in the far future of the Commonalty, the Commonwealth's major successor civilization, which we see only in about the year 7000 AD? No, because intermediate events in the Time Patrol timeline contradict what we know of the Technic History.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree, fans and critics should not try merging or conflating two very different series of stories and novels by Poul Anderson. They should be understood, appreciated, criticized, etc., on their own merits, separately from each other.