Wednesday, 26 July 2017

A Potential Series

Whereas the stories of Malcolm Lockridge and of Jack Havig are complete, each in his single novel, The Corridors Of Time And There Will Be Time respectively, we are glad that Manse Everard and his many colleagues in the Time Patrol were given a series and also that that series lasted as long as it did. Like the same author's History of Technic Civilization, we want it to last forever but that is impossible.

By contrast, we want to know much more about HG Wells' Time Traveller whose character is succinctly delineated by a few lines in the opening paragraph of Chapter 3. In Chapter 16, "After The Story," which is followed only by the short Epilogue, the outer narrator asks the Time Traveller whether he really travels through time. He replies:

"'Really and truly I do.'"
-HG Wells, The Time Machine (London, 1973), p. 100.

He follows this with an invitation to wait half an hour, have lunch and receive proof. That reads like the beginning of a series, not like the last words that this character will ever utter. The Epilogue suggests six sequels:

that the Time Traveller fell among the savages of the Age of Unpolished Stone;
that he fell into the abysses of the Cretaceous Sea;
that he fell among the Jurassic saurians;
that he is "even now " (p. 101) wandering on a plesiosaurus-haunted Oolitic coral reef;
that he is "...beside the lonely saline seas of the Triassic Age";
that he went forward into "...the manhood of the race..." (ibid.)

All that in a few lines but Wells went on to write other things - and none as good as this. In a sense, the Time Traveller lives on in his many successors but any direct sequel (see here) should extend Wells' legacy, not add ideas that we know originated later. And no sequel that I know of succeeds.

But Poul Anderson could have done it.

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Another possibility is that the unnamed Time Traveler of Wells' THE TIME MACHINE returned to the same era as the one where he met Eloi girl Weena. This bit from the Epilogue of THE TIME MACHINE is what caused me to think like that: "And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers--shriveled now, and brown and flat and brittle--to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man."

    What if the Time Traveler had returned to the future to search for Weena? After all, we don't explicitly see her as dead in the story, only that she had disappeared while the Traveler was fighting the Morlocks.