Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Pivotal Moment II

Poul Anderson, The Corridors Of Time (London, 1968).

It is very difficult to think these matters through to a final conclusion. If Storm's new corridor had emerged in the fortieth century immediately after her departure to the twentieth century, then there would have been no time for Brann to receive any warning about the new corridor. He would have been unable to lead any counterattack down the corridor and the Wardens' victory would have been complete.

However, maybe such fine-tuning of the operation was not possible. When a corridor is activated, it extends an equal distance in both directions. Corridors can be of different lengths but perhaps not of any length. The Wardens had to build a corridor that would not emerge before Storm's departure. They were limited both by their activation point in 1963 and by whatever length of corridor was available for them to use. So maybe this was the best that they were able to do. And it would have worked if not for an entirely unpredictable causal circle.

Both sides used circular causality to wage their war through history so maybe it was only a matter of time before a causal circle worked against both of them. At least from the perspective of observers within this universe, the distribution of causal circles along the timeline must be random, like the distribution of prime numbers along the number line. But, if causal circles are random, can their likelihood be calculated?

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