Friday, 14 March 2014

Carrying Weight Through Time

In Poul Anderson's There Will Be Time (New York, 1973), a time traveler can carry only about ten pounds, including the clothes that he is wearing, through time with him and has to stop to breathe whereas Audrey Niffeneger's time traveler leaves his clothes behind but has no problem with breathing because the transit, as experienced by him, is instantaneous.

Havig's navigation device, the chronolog, indispensable for long journeys, weighs about five pounds so he cannot carry a lot more than it and prefers to avoid a gun, especially since it is easy to time jump away from danger.

My question is: would a sufficiently large team of time travelers be able to carry or pull a non-time traveling human being through time with them? This question is not addressed in the novel. Such questions do not often arise in time travel fiction because your regular time machine or an Anderson time corridor is able to transport anyone and usually also any quantity of goods.

Each fictional means of time travel has its limitations. For example, the original Time Machine remains stationary on the Earth's surface even though the Time Traveler had theorized about a vehicle able to move in any direction of space or time. Anderson excelled other writers, even Wells, in his ability to imagine different means of time travel, specify their limits and then, sometimes, find ways around those limits, although I suggest that he could have done more with Havig's psychic time travel.

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