Saturday, 15 February 2014

The History Of The Exaltationists

Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 1991).

In the thirty first millennium, a race of reckless, fearless supermen, called "Exaltationists", is genetically engineered "...to adventure on the cosmic frontier." (p. 43)

(By contrast, the Neldorian time bandits are from the two hundred and fifth millennium.)

First Attempt

The Exaltationists seek to rule in order that their wills may be entirely free. Failing to seize control of their civilization, they steal timecycles and escape into space-time.

Second Attempt

The Exaltationist Merau Varagan, becoming Simon Bolivar's evil genius, tries to make Bolivar overreach himself so that Varagan will be able to build an empire in the ensuing chaos. Manson Everard of the Time Patrol arrests Varagan but the latter is rescued by his future self.

Third Attempt

Exaltationists visit the court of the Inca Huayna Capac in 1524 and try unsuccessfully to persuade him not to give Atahualpa enough power to rival Huascar. This would have prevented the civil war that let the Spanish invade and conquer.

Fourth Attempt

The Exaltationists try to steal Atahualpa's ransom but find a Time Patrolman and a conquistador in the treasure house. Taking these unexpected prisoners for interrogation in their base at Maccu Picchu, where they number about thirty, the Exaltationists are hit first by their prisoners' escape on a timecycle, then, immediately afterwards, by a Patrol squadron.

Fifth Attempt

Contacting the Patrol base in Hiram's Tyre, the Exaltationists threaten to destroy Tyre with explosives unless they are given "...the data necessary for the construction of a Trazon matter transmuter..." (p. 257), but the Patrol kills or captures most of them.

The Trap

Knowing that some Exaltationists must visit the US in 1987 in order to gather intelligence on Wanda Tamberly, who was instrumental in their defeat at Maccu Pichu, the Patrol arranges press coverage of a recently discovered letter from Antiochus, suggesting that a different outcome to his siege of Bactra could have changed history.

Sixth Attempt

The Patrol apprehends the remaining Exaltationists as they try to intervene in Bactra.

I suspect that even the author can be confused by this rapid sequence of events. When Shalten says to Everard:

"'You have pursued the Peruvian affair to a conclusion, and paid attention to the charming young lady...'"
- Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 71,

- I think he should say "...the Phoenician affair..." because that is also now behind Everard on his world line.

Shalten also claims to know that at least one Exaltationist is "...in northern California on thirteenth of June 1980..." (p. 68)

- because that is when and where they had demanded that the Trazon transmuter data be transmitted. However, if they had intended to travel to 1980 to receive the data after completing their visit to the court of King Abibaal, then they were prevented from doing so.

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