Tuesday, 26 November 2013
Threshold Of Eternity Update
In Threshold, time travelling spacecraft fight within sight of twentieth century Earth. However, one ship stationed between the battle and Earth converts radiant energy into high energy particles so that Terrestrial astronomers notice nothing more than increased cosmic radiation - a neat solution, worthy of Anderson's Time Patrol.
However, time travel technical terms like "Anchor team..." and "...temporal surge..." (p. 10) and, later, "...temporal interference..." (p. 78) are newly invented and repeatedly used with little or no explanation. If any reader who is swept along by the narrative thinks that he does know what these words mean, then I would be interested in an explanation.
At one point in the narrative, a war party from the twenty-third century Crocerauninan Empire is displaced to 1957 when it fights Russian forces before responsible time travelers intervene to remove the intruders. One time traveler explains that the Empire grew from the wreckage of China and Mongolia, retaining some science but treating it as magic. This reminds us of several Anderson works in which war destroys civilization but new societies emerge from the ruins.
One of the many strengths of Anderson's time travel fiction is his ability to write authentic historical fiction and to integrate such passages into time travel scenarios. Thus, he does not merely inform us that his characters have traveled into the past but shows us ancient Tyre and Persia, barbarian Germania, a battle in the Second Punic War etc. As I read, Brunner's characters have just entered the mid-seventeenth century...