Tuesday, 13 September 2016
"...two Helvetian mercenaries had joined Hannibal in the Alps and won his confidence. After the war, they had risen to high positions in Carthage. Under the names of Phrontes and Himilco, they had practically run the government, engineered Hannibal's murder, and set new records for luxurious living."
-Poul Anderson, "Delenda Est" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), pp. 173-228 AT p. 221.
But that did not happen in our history! A Time Patrol spy reports:
"'The fellows looked to me like Neldorians, two-hundred-fifth millennium.'" (ibid.)
- and that their homes had:
"'A lot of improvements that hadn't been thought of in Classical times.'" (ibid.)
Similarly, SM Stirling's William Walker rules an ancient society not, initially, by overthrowing its king (of whom we have also heard, Agamemnon) but by helping him against his enemies. Like the Neldorians, Walker imports military and domestic innovations and lives luxuriously. His lieutenant, Bill Cuddy, has:
"'Gold, girls, all the comforts of home, within reason...'"
-SM Stirling, Against The Tide Of Years (New York, 1999), Chapter Six, p. 99 -
- and remarks:
"'Easy to get used to this sort of thing...
"'Like, getting laid whenever you want, for example.'" (p. 100)
But Cuddy does not understand the need to continue conquering new territory. Walker understands that conquerors must keep moving forward in order not to be pushed backward.
It is strange to think that, for over a decade, "Delenda Est" was the culmination of the Time Patrol series. Fortunately, Anderson considerably lengthened the series and added a greater culmination.