Thursday, 2 July 2015

Is The Past A Foreign Country?

Jack Finney was the master of nostalgic time travel fiction. Many of his characters would agree that the past was a foreign country and also would want to emigrate there.

Poul Anderson's character, Manse Everard of the Time Patrol, sees it differently:

"The Midwest of his boyhood, before he went off to war in 1942, was like a dream, a world forever lost, already one with Troy and Carthage and the innocence of the Inuit. He had learned better than to return."
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 178.

Innocence lost is the consistent theme of Anderson's Time Patrol series.

In SM Stirling's Conquistador (New York, 2004), the investigators expect to find out of date attitudes preserved and defended on the other side of the Gate:

"'They've got to have kept two-way traffic through the Gate tightly controlled. So things would have changed less on the other side.'
"'Yeah, like my hillbilly ancestors, keepin' the old ways goin' up in the hollers, only more so.'" (p. 197)

Gate Security is what the New Virginians have instead of a Time Patrol. In both cases, the purpose is to maintain the status quo at all costs.

(The investigators coincidentally hit on the same terminology of "the Gate" as the New Virginians?)

No comments: