Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Time Travel, Dilation And Stasis

We have learned three ways to:

"...survive the re-contraction of the primal monobloc and its explosion into a new cosmic cycle..."
-Jerry Pournelle and SM Stirling, "The Children's Hour" IN Larry Niven, Ed., Man-Kzin Wars II (London, 1991), pp. 133-306 AT p. 149 -

- by (i) time travel, (ii) time dilation and (iii) temporal stasis.

(i) In Poul Anderson's "Flight to Forever," one man in a "time projector," i.e., a kind of time machine, circumnavigates space-time. We owe the idea of a temporal vehicle or "time machine" to HG Wells and it is because of Wells that we retain such archaic terminology. I remember that, in the 1960s, a friend's grandfather used the phrase, "flying machine."

(ii) In Anderson's Tau Zero, the crew of an exponentially accelerating Bussard ramjet survives cosmic contraction and explosion. We owe the idea of an interstellar ramjet to Robert Bussard.

(iii) In "The Children's Hour," it is merely stated that a Slaver stasis field "...would probably survive..." (op. cit., p. 149) Stasis fields are an sf prop but we owe two very unpleasant species, the Slavers and the kzinti, to Larry Niven. Thank you, Mr Niven!

However, the current cosmological model is not cyclical. Anderson's Harvest Of Stars Tetralogy and Genesis ask whether consciousness can survive the heat death of a universe that does not re-contract and re-explode.

5 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Commenting on your last paragraph. I thought view favored by current cosmologists WAS that the universe would eventually re-contract and re-explode. If not, then I should familiarize myself with current cosmological speculations.

    And Poul Anderson's short story "Requiem For A Universe" speculates on whether BEINGS remotely descended from mankind might somehow survive even the heat death of the universe. The story can most conveniently be found in ALL ONE UNIVERSE.

    Sean

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  2. Sean,
    What I have read is that the current rate of cosmic expansion is far greater than the counteracting force of gravity and that the expansion is even accelerating.
    Paul.

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    Replies
    1. Kaor, Paul!

      I'm not misunderstanding you what this suggests to me is that it will take much longer than originally thought before the universe starts contracting

      Sean

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    2. I forgot to include "If" as the first word of my second comment above.

      Sean

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    3. Sean,
      I have read that the expansion is too rapid to be reversed by gravity.
      Paul.

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