Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Three Millennia

Manson Everard, an Unattached Agent of the Time Patrol based in the second half of the twentieth century, has:

"'...become one of the more important agents operating within the past three millennia.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 191), p. 263.

Anderson wrote historical science fiction about Everard's missions to many periods, e.g., historical fiction and science fiction were perfectly blended when a twentieth century man played the known historical role of Cyrus the Great.

There could be an entire second Time Patrol series about an Unattached Agent based in the eightieth century and operating mainly in the period 5001-8000 although also visiting other eras. The author would be obliged first to write a fictitious history of those three millennia in order then to describe this agent's missions.

Anderson did write future histories. An eightieth century Time Patrol series, if written, would synthesize two kinds of science fiction, future history fiction and time travel fiction. The time travelers in Anderson's There Will Be Time visit several future periods, including that of the same author's Maurai future history. However, this is not a full synthesis of the two kinds of sf. Our Time Patrol agent would have to intervene in several periods of a history already known to us, perhaps as laid out in a fictitious historical text book modeled on HG Wells' The Shape Of Things To Come.

Another kind of work that I would like to read is a historical novel in which we recognize one of the characters as a disguised time traveler but only if we have read other volumes in the series.

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