Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Moving In Time
There is a big difference between space-time machines, like the TARDIS or the Time Patrol timecycles, and mere time machines, like the Time Traveler's Time Machine or Martin Saunders' time projector. The latter remain in the same position on the Earth's surface. The Time Traveler returns to a different part of his laboratory because the Morlocks had moved the Time Machine into the White Sphinx. Saunders had departed from the underground workshop of a house on a hill but returned to a point half way up the hill because the projector had been moved at Brontothor.
Eve and MacPherson who had remained at the house are surprised to see not the projector returning in the basement but Saunders walking into the house - but why does he say that he is "'...a little early.'"? (p. 288)
After the Morlocks and Eloi in 802, 701 AD, the Time Traveler has "The Further Vision" of a darkening, dying Earth under a red giant sun. After Brontothor in 50,000 AD, Saunders has a "Flight Without End," beyond the end of the universe. To return home, the Time Traveler turns back whereas Saunders can only "GO ON..." (p. 281)
The location of the time projector changes from an underground workshop to:
a ruined basement;
the top of a low hill;
"...a small cobbled courtyard between high houses with shuttered and darkened windows..." (p. 222);
radioactive, blackened, fused rock;
a vitrified crater;
a lawn between buildings of the American College;
Three times, Saunders and Belgotai arrive to find a spaceship parked nearby.
Saunders' first companion, Hull, is killed by the Armageddonists in 2500 AD. In 3000 AD, Belgotai, a mercenary, joins Saunders because "...mercenary companies were helpless before the organized levies of the rising nations..." (p. 228) Belgotai hopes to find an era where he can still fight as a "'...free comrade...'" (ibid.) He is a helpful companion for Saunders because of his military skills but is he a good guide to the future? He is able to tell Saunders, in general terms, what has happened in the Solar System between 1973 and 3000 and this might be of some assistance in preparing to face further periods of interplanetary travel. Nevertheless, he knows no more about periods post-3000 than Saunders.
Earth had suffered from:
"...the onslaughts of barbarians from the outer planets..." (p. 227)
Anderson did a good job of rationalizing barbarians with spaceships in his History of Technic Civilization but is interplanetary barbarism a likely development in the Solar System?