Guardians of Time by Poul Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'm rating this down for only one reason: it's somewhat bloodless.
I have no complaints about the whole time cop thing going on in general. The history bits are pretty great even if they're very classical.
However, the main characters are pretty white-hat in the best traditions of good cops. Putting it in the context of the 1950s, well before Doctor Who and coming out of the long tradition of the Golden Age of SF square-jawed heroism, this shouldn't surprise anyone.
But for that reason, and that reason alone, having read an actual slew of great time-travel tales, INCLUDING LATER ONES BY POUL ANDERSON, HIMSELF, I just can't rate them all that high. Maybe in the past, these were highly sought after. And aside from some stylistic differences, they might have been right at home in the average SF magazines today. They're not BAD.
But I DO like more vibrant characters, more.
*** Big note: Poul Anderson wrote one of my favorite big-spread history SF novels in The Boat of a Million Years. I thought it was about as good as it gets. I can see a taste of the effort that went into that book in these short stories, but only a tiny taste.
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