Book Review: There Will Be Time by Poul Anderson (Four Stars)


Book Review: There Will Be Time by Poul Anderson

Four Stars

“A man can do but little. Enough if that little be right.”

I’ve read this book before–long, long ago. Knowing the story, but having it told anew was a treat. Perhaps the height of Anderson’s skill as a storyteller. A slightly different take on time travel, but aren’t they all?

“Scientific information is only a glimmer on the surface of a mystery.”

Written in 1971, it grappled with the increasingly dangerous Cold War, which is remote to modern readers as World War One was to Anderson. “Try to understand your world in 1951.” Most of us have trouble imagining our world today; we don’t even try to learn the past, with Santayana’s forecast result.

“We need all the diversity, all the assorted ways of living and thinking, we can get. Inside of limits, true.”

His protagonist creates an instrument “built to his specification in 1980, to take advantage of the superb solid-state electronics then available.” Before you chuckle, consider how much research and development go into integrated circuits; today (2017) it’s very hard to home make electronics. Today we (you and me) lack both the infrastructure and the know how. Besides, Anderson wasn’t betting the War of Judgement would hold off much longer.

“Now that history’s returning to its normal climate here (North America) also, and the norm is an ice age.” In 1971 all right-thinking folks also thought the climate issue was the coming ice age.

“Racist: a white person who, when any Black person rings a bell, fails to salivate.”

Text note: There are lots of transposed n’s and h’s, presumably uncorrected OCR errors.

“We made that which had once been good into an idol, and thereby allowed what good was left to rot out of it.”

Skip the “bonus” tales. They lack the quality of the main story, perhaps added to inflate the page count.

“But there are no happy endings. There are no endings of any kind. At most, we are given happy moments.”

2 thoughts on “Book Review: There Will Be Time by Poul Anderson (Four Stars)

  1. Interesting. Prescient? I believe I read some of his work years ago. Yet, I’ve retained nothing of it. This may a good book for me now. thanks.

Comments are closed.