Friday, 26 August 2016

Two Premises

Two premises for time travel stories:

the past cannot be changed;
it can.

In The Corridors Of Time and There Will Be Time, Poul Anderson brilliantly presents the "cannot" premise. There are no inconsistencies in his narratives - and past and future periods are presented in considerable detail. In his Time Patrol series, Anderson brilliantly presents the "can" premise. The inconsistencies are subtle, requiring close analysis of the texts. Again, past periods are presented in detail. There is less about the future - although there are many alternative futures in Anderson's complete works.

By contrast, mass media presentations of the "can" premise remain appalling. I discuss an X-Men film here and last night encountered more of the same in a Smallville episode:

(i) Clark has the notebooks of Virgil Swann who received messages from Krypton. After someone has space-time traveled from the present Earth to the past Krypton, a new page appears in Swann's notebook.

(ii) Clark receives a message from past Krypton. Someone was trying to murder the young Kal-El (Clark's Kryptonian name). If Clark does not time travel to Krypton and prevent the murder, he will never have existed...

The powerful drama of the Luthor family, especially when Lex finally murders his father, is worthy of Anderson whereas these time travel scripts should never have been written.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Shouldn't you have included Anderson's THE DANCER FROM ATLANTIS in "the past cannot be changed" category of his time traveling stories?

Don't forget how the mass media has made a horrible botch of H.G. Wells THE TIME MACHINE! The most recent version I've seen showing the Time Traveler STAYING with the Eloi, rather than returning to his own time.


Paul Shackley said...

Maybe although DANCER does not directly address the issue.
I DO try to forget the film of THE TIME MACHINE!

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

IMPLICITLY, I think Anderson's THE DANCER FROM ATLANTIS belongs to his "the past cannot be changed" list of time traveling stories.

Most movies allegedly based on novels are hideous! Shamelessly betraying what the author actually said and meant!