Thursday, 20 February 2014


Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991).

In 1137alpha, Emil Volstrup, the Time Patrol agent in Palermo, says:

"'It is fascinating to watch the development...I will see the golden age of Norman Sicily...If we can correct the disaster.'" (p. 327)

Everard replies, "'Right.'" (ibid.)

Wrong. Or, at least, it depends what he means by "I." Let us call the Volstrup with whom Everard speaks in 1137alpha "Volstrup-alpha." Everard intends, after some further exploration in 1138alpha, to return downtime to earlier in 1137, before the "'...turning-point moment...'" (p. 316), and to prevent 1137alpha. If he succeeds, then, according to the Time Patrol theory of causality violation, Volstrup-alpha will simply not exist, despite Everard's memory of having spoken to him. In the later part of 1137 and subsequently, there will be an Emil Volstrup but he will have no knowledge of "'...the disaster...'" so he will not be Volstrup-alpha.

In my opinion, Vostrup-alpha, after his conversation with Everard, will continue to exist in the alpha timeline which we can regard as having existed in the past of a second temporal dimension. But, whether the Time Patrol is right or I am right, in neither case will Volstrup-alpha see the golden age of Norman Sicily.

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