Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Time War Secrecy

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

When the lone Ranger, Brann, leading the local Battle Ax people, has captured Storm Darroway and Malcolm Lockridge in Avildaro in 1827 BC, Storm explains to Lockridge:

"'...he must have come out of the tunnel under the dolmen earlier than we did, sought the Battle Ax people, and made himself their god...Somehow he learned we were here. He could have brought his full force against us. But that might have warned our agents, who are still strong in this millennium, and led to uncontrollable events. Instead, he told the Yuthoaz to fall on Avildaro, swore the sun and the lightning would fight with them, and swore truly.
"'Having won...he will send for a certain few of his people, and what else he needs, to work on me.'" (pp. 66-67)

Brann's "few" arrive but are killed, and Brann himself captured, in a Warden counterattack. The need for secrecy, the scarcity of personnel and the sophistication of their technology often oblige Warden and Ranger leaders to work alone in the past unaccompanied by either colleagues or subordinates from their home era but this proves to be their undoing in the Northern Europe of the second millennium BC. When Brann, alone, is captured, the Wardens who had attacked him return to their base in the sixteenth century, leaving only two of their number, Storm and Hu, in Avildaro. And when those two are killed in what looks like a Stone Age attack, the Wardens entirely abandon the milieu, leaving Lynx, the former Malcolm Lockridge, to organize a Denmark free from either Warden or Ranger influence.

Why do causal circles happen? There are such circles in the plot of The Corridors Of Time because Poul Anderson put them there. If we could look entirely outside our universe, would we find there the causes of unexplained events, possibly even including causal circles? The people of the further future apply the word "destiny" to Lockridge. He responds when destiny calls him which may be why it calls him.

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