The Corridors of Time Mass Market Paperback – Nov 1980
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In the 40th Century, the world is dividing into two camps - The Wardens, who control the Eastern Hemisphere, and the Rangers, who control Western. To Malcolm Lockridge, an ex-marine college student of the 20th century, the distinction between Good and Evil is an easy one to determine after he recruited by Storm Daraway, one of the leaders of the Wardens.
Storm, using the cover story of hiring Lockridge to help recover some long lost Ukrainian Freedom Fighter gold buried in the Jutland, steals him away to Neolithic Denmark and fills him in on the war between the Wardens and the Rangers that is being waged across all of time. She brings Lockridge in on her side - and as her lover - and that choice is an easy one for Malcolm after Brann, the ruler of the Rangers, leads a hoard of Indo-European barbarians against the peaceful village that is hosting them in an attempt to capture Storm - which he does and then proceeds to torture her for information.
Lockridge, decides to escape and seek help. He makes his way through the local Time Corridor to Reformation Europe in search of a contact that Storm said would be waiting each All Hallow's Eve at an inn in Viborg. This contact will lead him to her cohorts who will mount a daring rescue attempt using English warriors from the 16th century.
But, Malcolm must determine if he has chosen the right side in this war... or even if there is a right side; and through it all he will learn his pivotal role in the future that follows the 40th Century.
A Guide to my Book Rating System:
1 star = The wood pulp would have been better utilized as toilet paper.
2 stars = Don't bother, clean your bathroom instead.
3 stars = Wasn't a waste of time, but it was time wasted.
4 stars = Good book, but not life altering.
5 stars = This book changed my world in at least some small way.
At the beginning of the novel, Malcolm Lockridge is in prison awaiting trial for accidentally killing a man. But a benefactor appears - a beautiful woman who offers to fund his defense in return for his assistance afterward. He agrees, and then finds himself a pawn in a war fought by the rulers of the future, who use the Earth's past like squares on a chessboard. It's then up to Malcolm to determine if he can support either side when both believe that the ends justify the means, and as he witnesses up close the human toll of their future utopias.
There's not a lot of heavy lifting here, but it was fun for me to revisit this era of science-fiction writing. I like to do so on occasion, and this one fit the bill perfectly. It's possible that if I were to exist on a steady diet of such works, the relative merits of THE CORRIDORS might subside, but for not being exposed to material like this for a while, I enjoyed it. Anderson keeps the action moving, and, if you're going to accept the idea of time-travel, plausible. Add to that a nice resolution everyone can get behind, and you have an above average entertainment that scratches the science-fiction itch. Probably not Anderson's best effort (I've read little of his other than some short stories) and by no means a classic, but satisfying still. Four stars
Time Travel is a very dear theme for Anderson's novels. He has written a whole series for "Time Patrol" characters. However this is a stand alone novel unrelated to them.
Poul Anderson show his talent to mix action, drama and humor with deep meditations about meaning of life, ethics, gender conflict, ethnic discrimination and many subjects more.
The story shows the confrontation of two groups of time travelers: the Guardians and the Wardens. The confronting factions recruits adepts in different time periods and establish bases. Both parties are very thinly distributed and may not impose a definitive advantage, so they skirmish endlessly.
A Warden's leader recruits Malcolm Lockridge and adventures cavalcade starts, mainly in the Neolithic period.
Anderson's historical knowledge contributes greatly to enhance verisimilitude.
Take a joyful romp thru it, you won't be disappointed!
Reviewed by Max Yofre.