Sunday, 9 August 2015


I have made two interesting discoveries about Time Patrol timecycles. First, they use post-Arabic numerals on their time settings. Secondly, on arrival, a timecycle has zero dimensions but expands rapidly to its destination volume, displacing air molecules and small objects, settling beside a big object or above ground if it had been aimed at a basement that no longer exists. So could a cycle be programmed to stop at a smaller destination volume, thus achieving the sf concept of miniaturization?

There are miniature superheroes, including Ant-Man;
James Blish's character, Gordon Arpe, leads an expedition to the microcosm;

Isaac Asimov novelized the film Fantastic Voyage, about a submarine in a blood-stream, then wrote an original novel on the same theme;

CS Lewis, having learned about travel by size change from "scientifictionists," used it as his means of traveling from the city of Hell to the foothills of Heaven in The Great Divorce. (Lewis' point is that Heaven is as vast as God and creation whereas Hell is as small as the introverted soul.)

In his description of a timecycle's arrival, Anderson briefly hints at an idea that could have been another novel.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

While the idea of physically miiaturizing persons is certainly interesting, I have my doubts it will ever be possible to do so. For one thing, would a miniaturized man become LESS intelligent the smaller his brain gets? Less able to think and act?

This objection would not apply to C.S. Lewis' THE GREAT DIVORCE, however. Non physical SPIRITS or souls with no bodies could be any "size."

And I have read James Blish's short story, "Surface Tension," in which he used the idea of human beings not only being miniaturized, but also being able to breath in water. And, of how, long afterwards, their descendants traveled into "space" with their ship discovering the world surrounding the pool in which their ancestors were miniaturized. Interesting, but scarcely plausible!

But your analysis of how a Patrol time hopper implied the possibility of miniaturization makes me wish Poul Anderson had written a story exploring the possibilities of that story. How would he have handled the problem of becoming less intelligent the smaller your brain got?

And I have both versions of Asimov's FANTASTIC VOYAGE.