Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Wanda's Apartment

The Time Patrol universe is vast. Let us focus on a detail. Wanda Tamberly's Stanford apartment is her temporary student accommodation and does not remain her place of residence for the rest of the series. We see it again only in a flashback to the conversation where Manse Everard had explained about the Time Patrol. In "The Year Of The Ransom":

"...she asked quietly, 'How about telling me the whole truth?'
"'An outline of it,' he agreed. 'That alone will take a couple of hours.'
"- In the end she sat wide-eyed on the sofa..." (Time Patrol, p. 717)

In The Shield Of Time, the chapter headed 1987 A.D. on pp. 26-33 recounts some of the intervening conversation. Wanda asks all the right questions about time travel like:

"'Where does the energy come from?'" (The Shield Of Time, p. 27)

Later, when she is a Patrol member:

"She examined her mount. About four-tenths charge on the cells, which used a principle she didn't even begin to understand and which made nuclear fission look like a water-clock."
-SM Stirling, "A Stitch In Time" IN Multiverse, p. 73)

So she is no wiser, at least about the technology.

Manse says:

"'...it is terrifying. It could turn out that you and I never had this talk today, that we and our whole world never were, not even a dream in somebody's sleep. It's harder to imagine and harder to take than the idea of personal annihilation when we die.'" (p. 31)

But they have had this talk today. There can be another, subsequent, timeline in which they have never existed but this is not that timeline. In this timeline, they can live out the rest of their lives remembering this conversation.

I suppose that there is some difference between being dead and never having been born but, when we are dead, we will not know about that either.

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