Tuesday, 15 July 2014

"Crisscrossed With Paradoxes"

Robert Silverberg, "Christmas in Gondwanaland" IN Greg Bear and Gardner Dozois, Multiverse: Exploring Poul Anderson's Worlds (Burton, MI, 2014), pp. 215-244.

Time Patrol agents reconnoiter the scene of a causality violation that they must prevent:

"'We've been over the data and over it and over it again, until we've got the whole damned place crisscrossed with paradoxes, and we'll have to clean all that garbage out of the system later on, though of course that will create some paradoxes too, but to hell with that right now.'" (p. 238)

Having restored the preferred timeline, why should they return and mess further with the crucial events? The preferred timeline that they restore is not an original timeline without extratemporal interventions but a later timeline full of criminal interventions and Patrol counterinterventions, "...crisscrossed with paradoxes..." How would they eliminate the paradoxes? Kill their younger selves and the younger terrorists? Kidnap them and put them somewhere else, thus duplicating all those people?

In The Shield Of Time, a disguised Patrol agent gives a Russian soldier a forged ancient document that, it is hoped, will lure the Exaltationists still at large into a trap. When the Exaltationists have been arrested, the Patrol eliminates the false evidence. Thus, no Patrol agent gives the soldier the document. How was this done? I theorize that the agent with the document set off to meet the soldier in Afghanistan, 1987, from the far past. When the capture of the Exaltationists had been completed, that agent waiting to set off from the far past was sent a message instructing him to travel futureward not to 1987 but to his home era in the further future. But does eliminating the evidence not also eliminate the luring of the Exaltationists into the trap?

We are told that deleting a timeline deletes any time travelers who have traveled into it. So, if the timeline containing the fake evidence has been deleted, have the Exaltationists who saw and acted on the evidence also been deleted? But will such actions by the Patrol not also delete their own members?

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