Monday, 25 November 2013
Space Time Wars
I am reading John Brunner's Threshold Of Eternity and expect some surprises before the end. The blurb informs us that:
"...there was a war going on throughout space and time. A war fought by men of different epochs, on planets of different cultures..." (Threshold Of Eternity, New York, 1959, p. 1)
So far in the text, however, the war, in our future, is only against an alien enemy in space. The time element consists of the fact that a battling spaceship can suffer a "...temporal surge..." that scatters its crew throughout history although they have a mechanism by which they can instantly return to their present (pp. 10-11). I expect that there is going to be more to it than that but I wonder if the "...men of different epochs, on planets of different cultures..." exist only in the blurb? (I will soon find out.)
As always, Poul Anderson comes to the rescue. His time travelers move through real history, not through abstract "space and time." In his The Corridors Of Time, rival human powers on a future Earth dispatch agents throughout history and prehistory. Unable to change events, they nevertheless recruit supporters and try to influence long term historical tendencies in order to determine an outcome in their future from which both sides are barred by their successors who, we learn, have transcended the conflict.
That really is a war fought throughout space and time.