Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Novels And Time

Our overview of the plot of a novel resembles a time traveler's overview of a period of history. Thus, Poul Anderson's Time Patrolman, Manson Everard, travels to 1944 already knowing the course of World War II prior to that year. Similarly, I have just started to reread Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy but at the beginning of Volume III. The title character is in hospital but I already know how she got there.

Also, Everard knows that history can take a different course and we are familiar with different versions of a story. We have been since the Bible and Greek myth. In the case of the Millennium Trilogy, there are:

the novels;
a Swedish TV adaptation of all three novels;
a Hollywood cinema adaptation of the first novel;
a comic strip adaptation of the first part of the first novel.

We derive an additional pleasure from comparing clever variations of the story as the Greeks did with dramatic reinterpretations of their myths. If this works well, something happens that we do not expect but then things work out as they should. Everard can accept minor variations to history.

No comments: