Valerie's Reviews > The Time Traders

The Time Traders by Andre Norton
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's review
Mar 03, 2010

This book is not set in the late 50s when it was written. Internal chronology places the starting date at 1982 (25 years after Sputnik).

Anachronisms abound, unsurprisingly. The (anti?)hero expects to see black-and-white tv. The (vague and undefined) Soviet Union has changed, as has the West--but it's not really clear how. Attempts at space travel are defined as unsuccessful, after a promising (threatening?) start. No real ecological information is included (for example, a base under Arctic ice is likely to be underwater as well, since little of the Arctic icecap is on land).

In earlier areas (reached by unexplained time travel), ecological information is more complete, and a little more accurate.

Norton's xenophobic tendencies are more easily exposed in stories set on Earth. The aliens are not significantly more inexplicably hostile than the cardboard and undifferentiated 'Reds'. The assumption that humans a few thousand years ago (and not significantly different physically from present-day humans) would be 'simple', 'primitive', and (apparently) easily fooled is questioned a bit, but not much so. At least one character (better developed than most) is tricked into accepting the skin of a wolf in whelp, slaughtered while defending her lair. He is convinced that it would be an acceptable gift to the Goddess--but I seriously doubt this.

A few of the characters who ARE better developed are women--but generally, this book falls into the 'another planet without women' category. Only two women are really described--others form part of the chorus, but are mentioned only in passing.


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