Monday, 27 July 2015

Newspapers And The Future

How would being a time traveler affect perception of current affairs? When Everard returned from the Time Patrol Academy:

"It was a peculiar feeling to read the headlines and know, more or less, what was coming next. It took the edge off, but added a sadness, for this was a tragic era."
-Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), p. 17.

Reading the Time Patrol series now, we also "...know, more or less, what was coming next..." in the second half of the twentieth century but did not know it when the opening stories were originally published. We have to imagine that Everard did. The image shows a New York Times headline from 1954 although the date is illegible.

Much later, in 1987, Everard has missed something in the news because:

"'I've only been around for a short timespan, and mighty busy.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 71 -

- and also because:

"'...when one knows what lies ahead in history, one's incentive to follow the daily news is slight.'" (ibid.)

That also makes sense.

When Everard says that he has "...only been around for a short timespan...," he means that he has returned from spending several weeks in the far past. In fact, he "...returned on the day after he left..." (p. 3) but, of course, he will not have remembered what was in the news before he left! A Time Patrolman's perception of current events has got to differ totally from ours.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

The headline plainly refers to the decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme on May 17, 1954, on "Brown vs. Board of Education." Perhaps from a newspaper printed the next day.