Monday, 17 March 2014

Through The Underworld

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

"'I have a better place,' he promised. 'We must go through the underworld to reach it, but there we will be safe...'" (p. 207)

How appropriate that, when Lockridge/Lynx leads his people to safety in the past, he must describe their passage as a descent through the underworld. It is also appropriate that one of the time corridors, although not the one used on this occasion, is concealed under a burial mound.

The means of time travel used determines what kind of time travel story can be told. Time Patrolmen on their timecycles can ascend, descend, appear and disappear. If seen, they are mistaken for gods and it is easy for them to play that role. The psychic time travelers of There Will Be Time disappearing, reappearing and sometimes bi-locating, can be perceived as shamans or saints. But users of time corridors descend into the underworld and reascend renewed. And Lynx's people, the founders of a nation, make this journey with him. As my Wiccan friends say, "Blessed be."

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