Saturday, 12 November 2016

After The War

I was born in January 1949, just over three years after the end of World War II. Without understanding anything about the War, we read War comics and saw War films. Our parents' generation remembered the War and it seemed that it would be forever a major recent event. Poul Anderson's "Time Patrol" was published in May 1955 and his "Delenda Est" in December 1955. It followed that the hero of these two Time Patrol stories, Manson Everard, had been in the War. I read a Library copy of Guardians Of Time, published in 1961, and bought the Pan paperback edition, published in 1964.

The first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, was published in 1953. It followed that Bond had been in the War and had even been active in the Secret Service before the War. You Only Live Twice, published 1964, revised Bond's biography. (Had time travelers been at work?) Now he had entered the Secret Service only during the War and then only by lying about his age. Nevertheless, the War had to remain part of his past.

By now, we are well out from under the shadow of that War. Its sequel, the Cold War, has come and gone. Anderson's The Shield Of Time (1990) mentions Gorbachev. The Bond novels retained their post-World War II flavor at least until You Only Live Twice, the eleventh of the twelve novels, but also showed signs of the Cold War slacking off. Now contemporary novels contain satellites and computers that were previously science fiction.

"Time Patrol" had said that the gadgets in a typical room at the Time Patrol Academy were:

"...the sort you would have expected by, say, AD 2000..."
-Guardians Of Time (Pan, London, 1964), p. 12,

and included:

"...screens which could draw on a huge library of recorded sight and sound for entertainment. Nothing too advanced, as yet." (ibid.)


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

By the mid 1950's computers had advanced just enough that a scientifically knowledgeable writer like Poul Anderson could reasonably guess that within a few decades people would be using computers of the kind described in "Time Patrol."


S.M. Stirling said...

Yup; evidently the room has access to Amazon and Netflix! 8-).

I've noticed how immensely easier research has become; I now work often out of the house, because I'm not pinned to my physical reference books and can either get the data on the net, or carry the books around on tablet.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

While I'm not all that much a movie guy, I've done some watching of movies online, my favorite being BORN OF HOPE.

Yes, research has become much easier. But we still need to keep in mind that not everything we find online will be reliable. And systems for referring to trustworthy online sources needed to be worked out.