Sunday, 17 August 2014

A New Eon VI

Greg Bear, Eon (London, 2002).

I have read as far as p. 161. Hasty reading is inadvisable. Since we are dealing with at least two timelines, let's clarify what happens in them.

Timeline 1
There is a minor nuclear war, the "Little Death," in the late twentieth century and a major nuclear war, the "Death," followed by a "Long Winter," in the early twenty first century.

The asteroid Juno, hollowed into seven chambers and spun for centrifugal force, embarks on an interstellar journey. Machines in the sixth chamber "...alter the mass-space-time character of everything in the [asteroid]," (p. 159), thus selectively dampening momentum and allowing limitless acceleration.

En route, sixth chamber engineers relieve mentally cramped conditions by manipulating space and time in order to create an asteroid-shaped universe extending away from the seventh chamber but also uncoiling in superspace, thus snapping the asteroid out of timeline 1.

Timeline 2
The large population of the asteroid migrates into their created universe, leaving the seven chambers uninhabited.

There is a minor nuclear war, the "Little Death," in the late twentieth century. The asteroid, not immediately recognized as Juno and called "the Stone," enters the Solar System. In the early twenty first century, explorers of the Stone find accounts of the Death in the abandoned Stoner libraries while events on Earth move towards a major nuclear war.

Two characters, Lanier and Hoffman, discuss this situation. Lanier suggests that the war described in Stoner libraries might not happen but then concedes that he does not believe this, adding, "'Perhaps if the Stone had never arrived.'" (p. 152)

But the war happened in timeline 1 where no Stone had arrived. Granted that controversy over the Stone may be an additional cause of war but, if it is, then this also is a change from the course of events as they had occurred in timeline 1.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Ah, your notes about the complexities of EON reminds me of the difficulties I had with this Bear book. Rereading/reading this book and its successors might make it clearer to me. Sort of like the difficulties I had with Poul Anderson's HARVEST OF STARS books. It took the second reading to clear away the difficulties I had with some of the ideas and themes in these books and for me to realize the HARVEST books were MASTERPIECES of science fiction.