Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Discussing Causality Violation

Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006); The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991).

History and therefore political geography is changed in Anderson's "Delenda Est" (see image). This alteration is discussed more fully in The Shield Of Time:

"'You spoke of persons who entered the alternate future but failed to get away from it. What became of them when it was...abolished?'
..."'They no longer existed either.'" (p. 304)

They no longer existed in the restored Danellian timeline. However, the "abolished" timeline was a four dimensional continuum. I see no reason why, from the point of view of people within it, it should cease to exist in its version of 1960 right after Everard and Van Sarawak had left it. Indeed, other time travelers probably went much further uptime within that timeline. Therefore, I think that, if Everard and Van Sarawak had failed to retrieve their captured time machine, then they would have lived out the rest of their lives in that alternative reality.

Everard is asked why only a few, not many, time travelers entered the alternate future. One answer might be that this is a matter of quantum randomness. Another answer might be that there are causal relationships between chronokinetic events. To simplify: if Everard used a particular timecycle to travel from his 1960 to Roman times and back again, then the Neldorians stole that machine and traveled to Roman times to change the outcome of the Second Punic War, then, after that sequence of events, Everard, having traveled on a different timecycle further back to the Pleistocene, returns uptime into the history in which Carthage had won the Second Punic War.

Everard's answer:

"'They [the few] were just the ones who happened to cross the crucial moment, bound uptime, in that larger section of time during which there were related events, like the Patrol's salvage work...'" (ibid.)

- doesn't make sense, which is why he adds:

"'I hope you understand what I'm saying. I don't.'" (ibid.)

- then Komzino appeals to "'...a metalanguage and metalogic accessible to few intellects...'" (ibid.)

- says that they do not have time to quibble about theory (because they are faced with a new temporal catastrophe) and turns the discussion to practical matters.

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