Saturday, 8 August 2015
"...Neil Gaiman's stories in The Sandman descend concentrically though a narrative maze to a room at the center, where you expect to find a confessional and instead step into a veldt that stretches as far as the eye can see."
-Steve Erickson, Introduction IN Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Dream Country (New York, 1995), pp. 7-9 AT p. 8.
This is equally true of Poul Anderson's texts. Both the Technic History and the Time Patrol invite multiple rereadings, resembling a concentric descent that you think will end at a central point with nowhere further to go whereas, instead, a single word or phrase prompts new reflections or perspectives like "...a veldt that stretches as far as the eye can see." Phoenician inventions and visitors to Tyre were recent discoveries.
Another example, in "Ivory, And Apes, And Peacocks," is:
"Far and far away, a sail passed by. It could have been driving the ship of Odysseus." (Time Patrol, p. 326)
Thus, the events that were the source of Homer's second epic might be occurring concurrently with Manse Everard's mission to Tyre in 950 BC. Thus, this Time Patrol installment alludes to a Classical text, as also to the Biblical Solomon on p. 240. There are several other literary references:
"Star Of The Sea" refers to Tacitus' Annals, Histories and Germania;
"The Sorrow Of Odin The Goth" reconstructs the events behind a story in the Eddas, the Volsungasaga and the Nibelungenlied;
"Time Patrol" is based on one of Dr Watson's untold cases;
The Shield Of Time alludes to His Last Bow.
Within the Time Patrol series itself:
"Ivory, And Apes, And Peacocks" ends with Everard winding up his stay at King Hiram's palace and The Shield of Time begins with him newly arrived back in New York;
in "Ivory...," Everard's squadron lands on "...an uninhabited Aegean islet..." (p. 326) and The Shield... recounts a conversation between Everard and his principle prisoner on that islet;
in "The Year Of The Ransom," we are told that Everard takes a couple of hours to outline the truth to Wanda and The Shield... recounts part of that conversation.
We must read carefully if we are to notice connections with other works of literature and also with earler installments of this increasingly complex series.