Thursday, 27 July 2017
Saving The Appearances
the Time Traveller on his Time Machine is invisibly present in Richmond, London, from about 1895 and throughout the twentieth century;
timecycles arrive and depart in hidden locations;
Wardens and Rangers from two thousand years in the future enter or exit time corridors at particular times and places.
The fictional convention is that the on-stage events of the these two centuries proceeded as remembered or recorded despite such odd behind-the-scenes occurences. The appearances are saved.
However, I am not sure that Wells does save his appearances. On the one hand, he goes to elaborate lengths to conceal the names of the Time Traveller and of most of his dinner guests. On the other hand, he concludes Chapter 16, just before the Epilogue, by writing:
"The Time Traveller vanished three years ago. And, as everyone knows now, he has never returned." (p. 101)
If "...everyone knows...," then the Time Traveller, unlike Poul Anderson's various time travellers, is a public figure whose name is known and his vanishment is a matter of record.