Wednesday, 29 July 2015

"The Last Act"

"We must understand that what Pascal said is true of every human being in the whole of space-time, ourselves included - 'The last act is tragic, however pleasant all the comedy of the other acts. A little earth on our heads, and all is done with forever.' - understand it in our bones, so that we can live with it calmly if not serenely." (Time Patrol, p. 343)

By "We...," Farness here means not human beings in general but Time Patrol agents in particular. Why them in particular? Because he has just made a, to him, instantaneous jump from 372 to 1935. Every member of his family in the fourth century is long dead.

Manse Everard must live with the same fact. In 1987, he thinks:

"...the calender said that tonight [Bronwen] lay twenty-nine hundred years dust, and there should be an end of the matter." (The Shield Of Time, p. 4)

We have become very familiar with the concept of leaping across the centuries but what would be the human consequences?


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Yes, I think I see what you mean. Poul Anderson also gave some thought and attention to the emotional and philosophical implications of time travel and how they would affect human beings. More so, really, than Ward Moore or L. Sprague De Camp had done with BRING THE JUBILEE and LEST DARKNESS FALL.

    Hmmm, if time travel is REAL, are there agents of a Time Patrol keeping tabs on our discussions lest we come too close to discovering it is real? Might we find ourselves being banished to an "Exile Planet" of the kind we see mentioned in
    the stories? But, this is mere fancy and whimsicality! (Smiles)


  2. Sean,
    I suspect that, if there is any real time travel, then we are nowhere near to detecting it.

    1. Kaor, Paul!

      I agree! Neither of us are any where close to discovering if time travel is possible and real.