Monday, 11 August 2014
Age And Death
Janne feels that she is "'...worth most in the field, my field, and will be until I am too old and feeble.'" (Time Patrol, p. 638)
But Time Patrollers do not get old or feeble. Is Janne temporarily forgetting this? Or speaking loosely? Or do Patrollers after several centuries of lifespan become mentally aged so that they must be retired from active service? How do they cope with accumulating memory, which is a problem for immortals in other sf works by Anderson? When Everard has lived right through his milieu and maybe some other milieus a few times, surely he will have dealt with every problem that is going to come his way during those periods? The number of such problems must be finite.
He will encounter new problems only if, by traveling pastward and returning futureward, he enters a new timeline caused by a quantum change. Such problems can be avoided by remaining in the present. Do very old Unattached Agents from different periods meet and form a layer of the Middle Command addressing problems that affect the Patrol and its timeline as a whole?
There must be entire levels of the Patrol that are beyond our knowledge or understanding. Guion, representing the internal security of an intelligence organization, is the first hint of such a higher level.