Saturday, 5 November 2016

Future Histories And Time Travel

(Most of today so far has been spent driving back to Lancaster.)

Robert Heinlein
Heinlein's Future History was complete in five volumes but unfortunately he added three or four inauthentic novels. The first of these, Time Enough For Love, concludes with a time travel section, "Da Capo," that includes an ingenious passage on how Lazarus Long sends messages home from the early twentieth century but otherwise is appalling drivel. (I go further and add that at times Heinlein's later obsession with sex became frankly offensive.)

Isaac Asimov
Asimov's The End Of Eternity is an incoherent time travel novel (see here) that concludes by initiating the timeline of his Galactic Empire future history.

Poul Anderson
Anderson did not connect the Time Patrol to the Technic History but did connect There Will Be Time to the Maurai History.

However, in the Technic History, two characters present the germ of a time travel story. See here. Let us expand it:

the Marchwardens of the Lauran System have reason to expect an attack from the future and prepare defenses;
the attack arrives and is defeated;
five centuries later, the Merseians have a time machine and consider attacking the Lauran System five centuries earlier;
however, historical records inform them that that attack arrived and was defeated;
therefore, they do not launch the attack.

By the Time Patrol rules of time travel, this could happen. The cancellation of the launch of the attack cannot prevent the earlier arrival of the attack.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree, beginning with STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, most of Robert Heinlein's later works were "appalling drivel." Due in part to his wearisome obsessions with sex. I do make a partial exception to his THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS.

It's been so long since I read Asimov's THE END OF ETERNITY that I don't remember at all how he tied in that book with his Galactic Empire/FOUNDATION books.

I'm very glad, with the exception of tying in THERE WILL BE time with his Maurai series, that Poul Anderson avoided linking or interconnecting his major series. Because I think that might have led to reducing his works to a chaotic mess.

True, PA's Polesotechnic League and Terran Empire stories were once separate, before he "impulsively" mentioned "Polesotechnarch" van Rijn in one of the Flandry stories. Happily, that did turn out to be a successful linking up!

I'm puzzled by you speculating that a Merseia with access to time might have attacked the Lauran system. Would this be done to prevent the Domain and the Empire from eventually reconciling and becoming allies against Merseia?


Paul Shackley said...

No, I was merely expanding on the hint dropped by Vickery and Ferune. The attack from the future need not be launched by Merseians - but they seemed an obvious choice.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Understood! Altho I don't think Vickery/Ferune actually had time traveling in mind. More likely, they were making the kind of "literary" allusion S.M. Stirling mentioned Lord Salisbury as also making. At least it's possible Salisbury had Wells' THE WAR OF THE WORLDS in mind.