Tuesday, 4 October 2016

All The Time In The World II

I should also have added that, of course, the Patrol can take as much time as it needs to prepare for an urgent rescue or attack to be mounted at a precise moment in the past. When Wanda, menaced by Luis in her apartment, phones Manse's number and gets his answering machine, he is already hovering on a timecycle outside her window.

Having all the time in the world has paradoxical implications, e.g.:

from 2016, some Patrolmen exile an opponent to a remote past when he will be able to survive but will have no means to return to the present;
in 2026, or at any other time, they can:

retrieve him from the past exactly ten years after they left him then;
retrieve him from the moment after they left him;
retrieve him from any other period after time after they left him;
decide not to retrieve him - and, if they never do this, he died back then.

If he is to be retrieved, then there is no necessity to retrieve him exactly ten years after he arrived in the past - a mistake that seems to be made in Robert Silverberg's Hawksbill Station.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    All I can think of for saying about this blog piece of yours is now the picture of the sundial, your comments about time, and the supernatural, reminded me of 2 Kings 20.1-11. King Hezekiah of Judah had been ill and the Prophet Isaiah came to warn him that the king would soon die. Hezekiah then entreated the Lord and Isaiah was sent back to tell the king God had heard his prayer and would add 15 years to his life. "Then Hezekiah asked Isaiah: "What is the sign that the LORD will heal me and that I shall go up to the temple of the LORD on the third day?" Isaiah replied, "This will be the sign for you from the LORD that he will do what he has promised. Shall the shadow forward or back ten steps?" "It is easy for the shadow to advance ten steps," Hezekiah answered. "Rather, let it go back ten steps." So the prophet Isaiah invoked the LORD, who made the shadow retreat the ten steps it had descended on the staircase to the terrace of Ahaz" (2 Kings 20.8-11).

    Many questions comes to mind about this surprisingly subtle miracle! Exactly what happened in this miracle? Was the rotation of the Earth reversed sufficiently that the shadow on the sundial of Ahaz retreated ten steps or degrees? Think of the tremendous energies involved if that was the case! For the Earth to just STOP moving and then reverse rotation like that would have caused earthquakes and tsunamis, but nothing like these cataclysms were reported. Or did God simply retreat the shadow on the sundial ten steps while not reversing the rotation of Earth? Or, as many secularists would insist, nothing happened, all this was merely a fable?

    We see time being used in this text from the Bible in several aspects: the king was warned he would soon die, then God healed him and added 15 years to his life, a sundial--a device for measuring time--was used to prove a sign given by God.


    1. To my VEXATION, I forgot to add "go" to this text I quoted: "Shall the shadow GO forward or back ten steps."


    2. Sean,
      Well, I certainly do not believe that that miracle happened. Nor do I accept Matthew 27. 45-53 or 28. 2-4.

    3. Sean,
      When you miss a word, we usually get the meaning.

    4. Kaor, Paul!

      But I do accept the reality of miracles. I see nothing impossible in King Hezekiah falling ill and then being healed miraculously. Or in him being granted a sign. Which also means I do believe very strange things happened when Our Lord died on the Cross.

      It is a puzzlement to me why even some who say they believe God is real then go on to deny miracles can happen. That is illogical!

      True, what you said about most times readers understand what I meant when I overlook typing a work. But the pedant in me is still affronted! (Smiles)


    5. I should have added to one of my notes above that Poul Anderson's "A Chapter of Revelation" gives us some of his thoughts about miracles. Esp. what might have happened if God had stopped for 24 hours the rotation of the Earth without it doing harm.