Saturday, 10 December 2016

Three Kinds Of Dimensions

For convenience, let us describe Poul Anderson's The Corridors Of Time and There Will Be Time as his two Time novels. Let us also consider his Time Patrol series and his Old Phoenix sequence. This totals seven novels, one omnibus collection and two further short stories.

In all of these works, there are, of course, three spatial dimensions. In the two Time novels, there is a single temporal dimension. No surprises there. So far, that accords with our experience. In the Time Patrol series, we are told that theoretically there are 4N dimensions but we need only consider three spatial dimensions and two temporal dimensions. The Old Phoenix multiverse has three spatial dimensions, one temporal dimension and one other dimension. We must call this fifth dimension something so perhaps "inter-cosmic" will suffice.

The two Time novels are set in different universes which, however, have the same four-dimensional framework. Thus, we are considering only three frameworks. Let us imagine that each framework is represented diagramatically on a different page.

The Time Novels
A single horizontal straight line.
An arrow pointing from left to right at the foot of the page.
The straight line is a single timeline.
The arrow indicates that "past" is left and "future" is right.
Each point on the straight line represents a moment which is "present" to any conscious being living in that moment.
The three spatial dimensions are not represented.
Most personal world-lines merely extend from an earlier to a later moment.
The description of a time traveler is more complicated and different in each of the two novels.
However, from our perspective looking down on the page, each time traveler exists statically on different sections of the straight line.

To be continued.

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