Monday, 27 July 2015

Benegal Dass In Bactra

Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), pp. 51-54.

Bactra was the capital city of Bactria. Benegal Dass, born in the late nineteenth century, wrote a thesis on Indo-Bactrian society that attracted a Time Patrol recruiter.

Dass spends decades in the city, each time arriving and departing by local means of travel, not on a timecycle. He adopts different identities. As Rajneesh, he worked in a silk dealership. As Rajneesh's cousin, Chandrakumar, he seeks enlightenment and stays in a Buddhist monastery while studying Greek philosophy. Usually his visits are "...separated by timespans of a length to preclude recognition..." (p. 53) but urgent Patrol business brings Chandrakumar to Bactra soon after the departure of Rajneesh, necessitating a kinship story to explain their resemblance.

On holiday back home, "...he must lie to family and friends about what he did for a living." (p. 54) He observes and writes the entire history of the city. His work is read within the Patrol and in the distant future. Thus, the Patrol knows what events it must protect in this historical backwater.

Folk are being real swell about page views right now. However, it is tempting to pause posting at the round number of 80 posts for this month. I am sure that Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series is inexhaustible but I will temporarily exhaust my ability to find new details to post about. Would anyone else like to write their completely different take on this series and email it to be posted on the blog?

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