Monday, 7 July 2014
Multiverse: A Slip In Time
At the climax of "A Slip in Time" by SM Stirling, Manson Everard, knowing (apparently) that Wanda Everard on a timecycle will see him do it, jumps from a gondola. There are two possibilities:
(i) Wanda sees Manse falling, space-time jumps to a point beneath him and catches him;
(ii) Wanda sees Manse fall to his death, space-time jumps five minutes pastward and to a different point in space and catches him.
(ii) is what happens. In fact, she dives the timecycle to catch him rather than appear beneath him. Apart from this difference, the Manse whom Wanda catches experiences (i), although Wanda has experienced (ii). This is logically odd, to say the least. There is a Manse who experiences a fall to his death. The Manse whom Wanda has saved seems fully to accept this:
"'I had to watch you die, you son of a bitch!' Wanda yelled...
"'Not permanently,' he grinned..." (p. 90)
Not permanently? A version of Manse did die permanently but he experienced only a few more seconds of falling, then nothing. I think that it is out of character for Manson Everard to pull such a stunt. He usually accepts that the Patrol dead stay dead.
Stirling shows us two couples, Van Sarawak and Deirdre, Manse and Wanda, married, with children. This is a logical development, of course, but I do not think that Anderson would have moved his characters' lives forward that fast if he had been able to continue the series. Stirling also brings back Komozino whereas Anderson usually changed the supporting cast.
Anderson had Everard consulting the physician Kwei-Fei Mendoza on the Moon in 2319. Stirling has the Everards visiting the Van Sarawaks on Venus in 2332, only thirteen years later. These are the only two times in the entire series when we see Everard travel any further futureward than the twentieth century.