Sunday, 30 July 2017

Is Time Light Or Heavy?

"Everard climbed weakly aboard the hopper. And when he got off again, a decade had passed."
-Poul Anderson, "Time Patrol" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (Riverdale, NY, 2006), pp. 1-53 AT p. 53.

I have quoted this conclusion to the first Time Patrol story several times before. See here. Everard has time travelled forward a decade and also feels the weight of time. So time can be heavy.

"And so my mind came round to the business of stopping.
"The peculiar risk lay in the possibility of my finding some substance in the space which I, or the machine, occupied. So long as I travelled at a high velocity through time, that scarcely mattered: I was, so to speak, attenuated - was slipping like a vapour through the interstices of intervening substances!"
-HG Wells, The Time Machine (London, 1973), Chapter 4, p. 26.

In Wells' account, a traveller through time, if not time itself, has such a high velocity that he is attentuated, vaporous, slipping through the intervening spaces (see here) of substances. When he departs into time, he is ghostly, indistinct and transparent. See here. When the outer narrator touches the substantial-looking Time Machine, it sways like a branch in the wind and he is exremely startled by its instability. (Chapter 16, p. 99)
Is that a hint that time travel threatens the stability of reality  - or instead that the Time Traveller's story is itself insubstantial?

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Of course it was MEETING the Danellian when and where he had which explains why Manse Everard felt so shaky, even stunned feeling.

    The fact the Time Machine felt so light and insubstantial could indeed be a hint that reality is not stable, but CHAOTIC, to use a term found in Anderson's THE SHIELD OF TIME.