Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Genesis And The Time Patrol

Time Patrol Academy instructor: As for the Babylonians, time travel just wasn't in their world-picture. We had to give them a battle-of-the-gods routine.

Whitcomb: What routine are you giving us?

Instructor, regarding Whitcomb narrowly: The truth....As much of it as you can take.

- dramatized from Poul Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2001), p. 14.

Another routine might make more sense of the characters' experiences:

An AI emulates the Time Patrol universe from "'...the Beginning..." (p. 83) to the Danellian Era and beyond;

(can an AI emulate even the post-cosmic phase if there is one?);

all four space-time dimensions of the emulated universe coexist within the AI;

thus, although an emulated organism, e.g., Everard, experiences duration from birth to death, if an external observer were able to look into the AI, then he would see every moment of Everard's life, as of the entire universe, existing simultaneously;

thus, the observer would see Everard as a static world-line enduring along the same temporal axis as the AI and as the observer himself;

the temporal dimensions of the emulated and external universes can be regarded as at right angles to each other;

at many space-time points within the emulation, a "time traveler," in a time shuttle or on a timecycle, disappears;

all but one of the disappeared time travelers appear at another set of spatio-temporal coordinates, either earlier or later;

after some time has elapsed in the AI's temporal dimension, the AI deletes that emulation and replaces it with another;

the second emulation is identical with the first except for two differences;

first, the single disappeared time traveler who did not (re)appear in the first emulation does (re)appear at an earlier time in the second emulation;

secondly, having (re)appeared, that time traveler changes the course of events in some way, e.g., helps Hannibal to sack Rome and to win the Second Punic War;

from that point onwards, of course, there is a changed history within the emulation;

that changed history can include a couple of Time Patrolmen arriving from the far past, seeing that history has been changed and disappearing on their time cycles with the intention of rectifying the alteration;

after another while in the AI's temporal dimension, the AI deletes the second emulation and creates a third emulation in which the two Time Patrolmen appear early enough to prevent the time criminal from helping Hannibal, thus restoring the original history.

I have simplified the plot of "Delenda Est" for the sake of this example but I hope to have shown that apparent time travel could be an emulation and that apparent causality violation could be a succession of emulations. And this would make more sense of the Time Patrollers' idea that timelines can be "deleted."

Addendum, moments later: I have just thought of a slight complicating factor even for this simplified scenario but will post more later although, since this is the 130rd post for January, I am as ever inclined to conclude the month with a round number.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Very interesting, these speculations that the Time Patrol stories might actually be fictions and emulation withing the node mind of Gaia. My problem with this, however, is that there is not the slightest evidence in the pub. writings of Poul Anderson indicating some kind of connection between the Time Patrol stories and GENESIS.

I know! These are merely fannish speculations! I've done a bit of that msyelf.