Monday, 31 October 2016
Time Lords, Time Patrol And Time Machine
HG Wells' The Time Machine;
Poul Anderson's Time Patrol;
an adaptation of Doctor Who;
a few other works.
I think that three popular sf series would benefit from some revision:
in Superman, there should be some explanation of why Kryptonians exactly resemble white North Americans (see here);
in Star Trek, Vulcans should be descendants of human colonials, not aliens;
in Doctor Who, the Time Lords should be future humanity, not aliens.
There are two versions of Doctor Who: one TV series and two feature films. In the latter:
the Doctor, played by Peter Cushing, not by any of his TV actors, is not an alien Time Lord but an English inventor, like Wells' Time Traveler;
his surname really is "Who."
In my third version, the Doctor would be an absconding Time Lord as on TV but the Time Lords would be future Terrestrials identical with Anderson's Danellians. I thought of this merely because either Katherine Kurtz or Poul Anderson used the phrase "Time Lords" when discussing the Danellians in an Introduction to Anderson's Time Patrol story, "Death And The Knight," in Tales Of The Knights Templar.
I would like to consult my copy of this anthology but it is back home in Lancaster while I will be in Norfolk until Saturday. If I had a time machine, would I be able to travel forward to Saturday when I will be back home? Not exactly. If the time machine were only able to move through time and not also through space, then I would arrive in Norfolk, not in Lancaster, on Saturday whereas, if the machine were able to move through space, then I would be able to arrive home now and would have no reason to delay my arrival until Saturday.
In my proposed composite scenario, there are four kinds of time machines:
a Time Lord/Danellian time machine or TARDIS encloses its passengers, is disguised as some appropriate historical structure like a British police telephone box, is bigger inside than outside thanks to extra dimensions and travels through the Time Vortex instead of directly from one set of spatiotemporal coordinates to another;
Time Patrolmen use timecycles as described in Anderson's series;
civilian time travelers use shuttles that are boxes enclosing their passengers, in this respect similar to TARDIS's;
a single nineteenth century inventor constructs the Time Machine which resembles a timecycle in that the traveler sits on it although it takes time to traverse time instead of disappearing and reappearing without any subjective time lapse.
The Doctor steals a TARDIS and embarks on adventures through space and time. The Time Lords realize that he resolves several crises and therefore do not prevent his excursions. However, he must be prevented from changing events and thus coming into conflict with the Time Lords' human agents in the Time Patrol.
The invention of the Time Machine is an extremely improbable event that does not really fit into the Time Lord/Danellian timeline. Because it is so improbable, when the Time Traveler sets off into the future, he passes through a quantum fluctuation and arrives in the 802,701 AD of a timeline where mankind does not evolve into Danellians but devolves into Morlocks and Eloi as a long-term consequence of Victorian social divisions. However, his return journey reverses the quantum fluctuation so that he returns to the main timeline just when Manse Everard and Charlie Whitcomb are visiting the Patrol London office. Where/when did the Time Traveler go after that? Other quantum fluctuations could have taken him to 1984 or 2001. In 1984, the Party claims that the past exists only in memories and records but a Time Traveler from 1895 would disprove this.
Meanwhile, what happens elsewhere in the Solar System?
HG Wells' The War Of The Worlds has Martians invading Earth;
a film about Orson Welles' radio adaptation of The War Of The Worlds has Martians as a fiction within the fiction;
George Orwell's oppressors of humanity are entirely human;
Doctor Who has Ice Warriors on Mars;
Poul Anderson has several Martian races (see here), including one that invades Earth (see here), but does not tell us which, if any, exist in his Time Patrol universe.
(Wells, Orson Welles and Orwell!)
Addendum: For an earlier proposed sequel to The Time Machine, see here.