Sunday, 26 July 2015


Time Patrollers meet. First, Unattached agent Everard visits Unattached agent Shalten:

"Entering, Everard found the interior cool, dim, anachronistic."
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 66.

Later, Everard meets Specialist Wanda Tamberly:

"They met downtown next morning, in the anachronistic opulence of the St. Francis Hotel lobby." (p. 430)

It seems appropriate that time travelers should meet in anachronistic surroundings. I heard that one idea for Doctor Who was to identify him with the Victorian period and to furnish the TARDIS accordingly.

Shalten appreciates knowledge of social change:

"' preferred pied-a-terre is Paris of the Belle Epoque. Refinement that will turn into revulsion, innovation that will turn into insanity, and thus, for the foreknowledgeable observer, piquancy becoming poignancy.'" (p. 66)

Far from regretting the loss of innocence, Shalten relishes it. When Everard visits Shalten's Belle Epoque in 1902, he:

"...tried not to remember that in a dozen years this world would crash to ruin." (p. 119)

Time Patrolmen cannot avoid their knowledge of what is to come. When Carl Farness visits Berlin in 1858:

"Occasionally, a uniformed Prussian officer strode by, but his shoulders did not obviously carry the future."
-Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), p. 400.

Not obviously, but a Time Patrolman knows...

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

In the mid 19th century it was becoming more and more plain that the German states would be unified SOMEHOW, no matter how much France dreaded and opposed that. And there were only two realistic possibilities: the Germanies being unified by either Austria or Prussia. Given hindsight, it can be convincingly argued that the Prussian victory against Austria and her allies in the Austro/Prussian War of 1866 and over France in the Franco/Prussian War of 1870-71 was a disaster for Germany and the world. What might have happened if the Austrians had won the desperately hardfought and narrowly lost Battle of Koniggratz? Would it have been so bad if Austria had unified the Germanies? We don't know! It certainly would have been a VERY different world, to say the least.

So, it was just as well those young, earnest, mostly well meaning Prussian officers did not know what kind of future would come from their labors and sacrifices.'