Saturday, 19 July 2014

People From The Future V

In the early fourth century, Carl Farness of the Time Patrol, known only as "Carl," takes Jorith of the Goths as a leman. When she has a seizure immediately after bearing a son, Carl goes to the locked room that conceals his timecycle and jumps to the Patrol base in 1930's New York where he gets the duty officer to make an emergency call for a doctor. Kwei-fei Mendoza arrives from 2319 and accompanies Carl on his timecycle back to Gothland but is unable to save Jorith because her difficult childbirth had ruptured an aneurysm of the anterior cerebral artery. I had to google the word "primiparous."

This time, we do learn more about the futurian, Mendoza, because, after the event, she interviews Carl in her hospital on the Moon:

artificial gravity;
air tinged with roses and new-mown hay;
deep violet carpet with twinkling starpoints;
subtle swirling wall colors;
a large window or screen showing lunar mountains and craters and a black sky with a full Earth.

When Carl explains that he and his wife had been young during the 1960's and '70's, "'...a period of revolution in sexual mores...,'" Mendoza replies, "'Fashions come and go.'" -Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), p. 375.

But she does not say what the "fashion" is in her time. Anderson keeps this vague. We are surprised to be told as much as we are about a Lunar base in the twenty fourth century. This glimpse of the future is unique in the series.

Carl asks whether he and Mendoza could not travel to before Jorith's pregnancy, bring her to 2319, fix her artery, blank her memories and return her to Gothland. Mendoza states the usual reason why not:

"'The Patrol does not change what has been. It preserves it.'" (p. 376)

But there is another reason. The Carl who took Jorith to and from 2319 would be different from the younger Carl who would then attend a birth that was not followed by the mother's death so Carl would thus have duplicated himself -

- unless the younger self who attended the birth is deleted with that deleted section of the timeline and thus also from any later sections of the timeline that he would have traveled to so that he can be replaced without duplication by the older self who took Jorith to and from 2319? The Patrol theory of time travel is not fully clear on all such points.

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