Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Time Wardens' Period

Poul Anderson, The Corridors Of Time (London, 1968).

(I have only just recognized the Little Mermaid of Copenhagen on that cover.)

Malcolm Lockridge escapes from the Rangers into their future. Despite previous bad experiences in the futureward sections of time corridors, Brann orders his men to continue the pursuit on their gravity belts. Lockridge knows only that there were guardians with incomprehensible weapons. His corridor sled stops and the flyers approach.

The guardians' weapons do not harm bodies but do attack minds. Lockridge experiences Night, Fear, loss of sensations, eternal disembodiment in infinite space, a horrific presence, negation, cold, darkness, hollowness, a vortex, contraction and cessation.

Then, the opposites: music, the scent of roses, peace, sunlight, a friendly greeting in Kentucky English, a screen with changing colors, a door to a summer garden and another house across a lane.

Leaving the house with his hosts, John and Mary, Lockridge sees homes among high trees, a machine tending a lawn and people, some nude, two bowing respectfully to the continental councillor, John. Flying, they see mostly green land but also a clean city stretching for miles and the half-mile long silver ovoid of the Pleiades liner rising above the horizon. Crossing the Atlantic and approaching the Limfjord, they see woods, pastures, strange animals and a town with red walls and copper spires.

And that is all that we see of the period a thousand years after Lockridge's visit to the Wardens and Rangers. 

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