Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The Theme Of Innocence Lost In Poul Anderson's Time Patrol Series

Perhaps some of these quotations make sense only in context so please read or reread Anderson's texts!

"It was a peculiar feeling to read the headlines and know, more or less, what was coming next. It took the edge off, but added a sadness, for this was a tragic era." (Time Patrol, p. 17)

"Everard was interested in Victorian London, almost captivated in spite of the grime and poverty. Whitcomb got a faraway look in his eyes. 'I'd like to have lived here,' he said.
"'Yeah? With their medicine and dentistry?'
"'And no bombs falling.' Whitcomb's answer held a defiance." (p. 28)

Whitcomb will get his wish. Sometimes innocence can be regained.

"The Jute clanked off, shaking his head dolefully. All these newfangled notions!" (p. 36)

"Mary was in Whitcomb's arms, shuddering and weeping. The poor, damned babes in the woods!" (p. 50)

"Everard climbed weakly aboard the hopper. And when he got off again, a decade had passed." (p. 53)

Chronologically, this is true. He has traveled from 1944 (p. 44) to 1954 (p. 52). But the concluding sentence reads as though Everard feels the weight of a decade of experience on his shoulders after a single instantaneous time jump.

"'...how long as it been for you, Manse? How many years have you rung up, in how many different epochs, since you were Keith's best man?'" (p. 56)

"Manse Everard entered Pasargadae as if into a springtime of hope." (p. 67)

"...as if..." The entire message of the series is that peaceful civilizations pass.

"'Let's go back. It's been a long time. Even if it never happened.'
"'Uh-huh.' Everard seemed more grim than a victorious rescuer should be. 'It never happened.'" (p. 111)

"'Oh, Keith, welcome home,' said the high small voice.
"Home! he thought. God!" (p. 112)

I think that the feel of these passages comes through even if their context is not known or not remembered. These quotations are taken only from the first two installments of the series.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I can certainly see why Everard was so interested in Victorian London. Those were the days, after all, when Western civilization was at its most calmly self confident, before the gunshots of Sarajevo shattered a whole world.

What I thought, as regards the text where "Everard climbed weakly aboard the hopper," was how STUNNED he was from meeting a Danellian.

And the problem for Keith Denison, when he exclaimed to himself "Home!" was that he would need to "re-acculterate" himself to living with Cynthia, to living in very different times. To "power down" from no longer speaking and thinking like a king.