Sunday, 31 August 2014

Time Travelers II

Being laid up with a cold, I watched another episode of Doctor Who, which I would not normally do. This series unites Britain. My wife called, "Doctor Who is starting." I remember this being said among a gang of Hell's Angels in a BBC documentary about that group of social misfits. When the Brigadier said, "Of course, Great Britain is the only country trusted by all others," University students laughed as if this was a satire whereas primary school pupils would have accepted it as nationalistic propaganda. The Brigadier, taking a phone call from the Prime Minister, said, "Immediate and decisive action! Yes, Madam," some considerable time before Margaret Thatcher had become PM.

Are there any comparisons to be made with the Time Patrol? Maybe a few. They are different kinds of series. Doctor Who is action-adventure - they fight clockwork men and Daleks - whereas the Time Patrol is historical fiction combined with science fiction. But Doctor Who script writers have learned to utilize the subtleties of their time travel premise a bit more. Usually, the Doctor's current young attractive female human companion (don't say "girl friend") resides with him in the Tardis. Instead, Clara teaches in a contemporary British school. The Doctor collects her for companionship now and again and, of course, after each adventure, returns her to a moment after her departure, although, on this occasion, a colleague notices that she has changed her clothes. When the Doctor arrives, he is two weeks late with promised coffee.

I have already remarked on differences between the means of time travel. Time Patrol members, seated on timecycles, travel instantaneously whereas the Time Lord, enclosed in his multidimensional vehicle, experiences transit time between departure and arrival. The entire Time Patrol series is an extremely sophisticated statement of the causality violation paradox whereas one Doctor Who episode made a total hash of this concept. Earlier versions of the time travelers were seen to disappear. Because a death was prevented, the universe stopped and some sort of temporal anti-bodies arrived to destroy everything. Just pretend that none of this happened.

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