Thursday, 27 March 2014

Three Culminations

I thought that Jack Finney's two Time novels and Poul Anderson's two-volume Time Patrol series were the two culminations of time travel fiction but Audrey Niffeneger's The Time Traveler's Wife (the one of these works that also happens to have been filmed) joined the list as soon as I had read it and I hope that there will be a sequel, The Time Traveler's Daughter.

Finney: nostalgic time travel to earlier decades in the United States;
Niffeneger: a contemporary novel of relationships involving time travel;
Anderson: historical periods and processes and futuristic speculations.

Niffeneger perfects the circular causality paradox. Thus, her novel needs to be compared with Anderson's three non-series time travel novels rather than with his Time Patrol series. Unlike the three by Anderson, Niffeneger's novel is a longer work, is neither historical nor futuristic but entirely contemporary and deals with personal relationships, not with any wider issues.

Henry tells Claire not to sign a drawing because he has seen it unsigned in the future but she signs it... But events remain consistent despite this. (She was right to trim off the signature because they want their known future to be their experienced future. A time traveler who sets out to change events might succeed in which case they will be in a different timeline, which is not what they want.) See here.

What I am saying here is that I recommend not only Poul Anderson's time travel works but also certain others for comparison and that these others definitely include The Time Traveler's Wife.

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