Friday, 14 August 2015

Sherlock Holmes And The Time Patrol

When Manse Everard reflects that Rudyard Kipling is still writing, he does not also mention Arthur Conan Doyle because the Time Patrol timeline has Dr John Watson instead!

"The private agent smiled sourly and watched [two disguised Time Patrolmen] with a narrow eye as they approached the mound; he was tall, thin, hawkfaced, and accompanied by a burly, mustached fellow with a limp who seemed a kind of amanuensis." (Time Patrol, p. 25)

Poul Anderson practices the art of understatement in this passage. Manse Everard, who is our viewpoint character and one of the two Patrolmen, knows very well that the burly, mustached, limping fellow is the private agent's amanuensis. It was reading that fellow's veiled reference to this incident that has brought Everard to 1894 in the first place.

The private agent asks Everard a sharp question after noiselessly approaching from behind. Everard has several paragraphs of conversation with Holmes who must be very carefully misdirected. The local Patrol office dare not employ him because he might learn too much. And later in Everard's career, the latter must secure the Altamont case.

7 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I admire Anderson's skillfully written allusions to Sherlock Holmes in "Time Patrol." And PA was right to do so in an understated way, naming no names. I even wonder if the Time Patrol RECRUITED Holmes in later years. I can see Holmes either being an Unattached agent or a Specialist.

    Sean

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  2. Sean,
    I think that the Patrol recruited Holmes in his retirement and employed him to investigate Jonathan Wilde, the Moriarty of a previous century.
    The Batman (also the world's greatest detective) found Holmes still alive in Tibet.
    According to one account, after Moriarty's death, some of his former subordinates founded an organization, the Technological Hierarchy, dedicated to world domination but later opposed by the United Network Command for Law Enforcement.
    Paul.

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  3. Also, the first paragraph of "Brave to be a King" refers to "the lost narratives of Dr Watson".

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  4. Welcome, Mr Jones! Any further comments drawing attention to missed details will be gratefully received.
    Paul.

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    1. Dear Mr. Jones:

      I reread that first paragraph of "Brave To Be A King" myself. The doorbell of Manse Everard's rang just as he was about to settle down to reading those lost narratives of Dr. Watson. As all fans of Poul Anderson knows, he was himself a fan of the Sir Arthur's Sherlock Holmes stories. Allusions and pastiches to the Holmes stories abounds in Anderson's own works. Examples being "The Martian Crown Jewels" and the "Adventure of the Misplaced Hound" (with Gordon R. Dickson).

      The Holmes stories has been popular with other SF writers as well. One example being Sterling E. Lanier's "A Father's Tale," in which Holmes appears using as a pseudonym the name of some relatives of his. Lanier wrote this tale based on Dr. Watson's tantalizing allusion to the giant rat of Sumatra.

      Sean

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    2. "John", please. Not "Mr Jones". I read Guardians of Time fifty years or so ago, and the other stories later. Apart from Shield of Time which I only discovered last month. So I'm reading the earlier stories again.

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    3. Hi, John!

      And I'm sure both Paul and I hope you will find occasion to often leave comments here.

      Sean

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