cover image The Time Patrol

The Time Patrol

Poul Anderson. Tor Books, $21.95 (458pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85231-3

In a fictive universe imagined in eight stories and one novel, time is mutable, and once time travel is discovered, humanity's remote descendants, the Danellians, set up the Time Patrol to ensure that no changes to the past will wipe out their own present. This construct (also used in The Shield of Time ) acts as a wonderful vehicle for Anderson's love of history. Manse Everard, whose presence unifies this collection, is recruited by the Patrol and rapidly ascends to the rank of roving troubleshooter. Frequently Everard finds that to preserve his own future he must destroy an alternate one, and his success is made bittersweet by his empathy for people who will never exist except in his own memory. The writing is excellent, distinguished by Hugo and Nebula winner Anderson's skill at weaving a background of sights and sounds to make the stage, and thus the actors, more real. Four of the stories are reprinted from his first Time Patrol collection (1960), four are from more recent volumes, and the novel is new with this book. (Nov.)