Monday, 25 July 2016
Gergory Benford's tachyonic communication
James Blish's Dirac transmitter
transtemporal communication in Poul Anderson's Starfarers
Fred Hoyle's October The First Is Too Late
When the focus is not just on time but more specifically on time travel, I think that the purest form of time travel fiction has to involve a single continuous timeline without any causality violations. We want to get into the past, not into something that looks like our past but that diverges from our timeline as soon as we intervene in it. Divergent timelines avoid contradictions but also evade the ingenuity which some writers - Robert Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Tim Powers and Audrey Niffenegger - are able to deploy in order to fit the free movements of time travelers into a single temporal dimension.
SM Stirling specializes in alternative timelines. His Island In The Sea Of Time (New York, 1998) begins with time travel but this immediately initiates a divergent alternative timeline:
"Of course, we could have wiped [our friends] all out by landing here, Ian thought. He kept that firmly to himself. Nobody wanted to think about that hypothesis. Better to believe the more comforting one, that they had simply started another branch of the tree of time." (p. 71)
These two hypotheses are what I call:
3. A Single Discontinuous Timeline.
4. Divergent Timelines. (see here)