Sunday, 25 June 2017

Heroes Change II

Heroes are of their times - Richard Hannay is not James Bond - except those that time travel. But even they carry their values with them and can experience extreme culture shock on arrival in another era, the first example being Wells' Time Traveller. Indeed, the time traveller in Poul Anderson's "Welcome" has exactly the same shock, the discovery of cannibalism in the future.

When Time Patrolman Carl Farness says that he grew up in a period of sexual freedom, a colleague based in a later century comments that fashions change. Manse Everard's "people," the Patrol, do not forbid a visit to the Temple of Asherat. Patrol medicine protects him from the infections of the ages. But Everard was a twentieth century post-Christian before joining the Patrol whereas other recruits would bring different sexual moralities with them. Everard's recruiter says that he has no interest in Everard's opinions except as reflections of his basic emotional orientation. The Patrol would be unable to accept anyone who was going to freak out at the revelation that his ideas and values existed alongside innumerable alternative world views up and down the ages.

3 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Actually, we only see one time traveler in "Welcome." It was interesting to see how the time traveler was increasingly disillusioned more and more by what he discovered about the future society in that story. Including the appalling ending. "Welcome" belongs to a subcategory of Anderson's works giving us surprising, shocking, unexpected endings. These being, besides "Welcome": "The Martyr," WORLD WITHOUT STARS, and "Eutopia." Do you know of any others which should be in this list?

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
Good question! You have probably covered it, of the stories we know. I will make the grammatical change to the post.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I'm reminded of my article discussing the uncollected stories of Anderson. Because it's possible some of those works also have unexpected, even shocker endings.

Sean