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SHEVEK'S TIME-SLIP

Dreamed 1996/10/14 by Chris Wayan

An academic named Shevek invents a new theory of time that allows time travel. The price you pay, his theory says, is that to gain freedom of motion through world-time, you lose some other dimension. But you can trade around--switch the one lost. It needn't always be the same one, even.

He tests the theory on himself. A bizarre voyage: his subjective universe narrows to a small room, the elevator of time, with just him and a one-ton weight. He chose MASS as the dimension to lose. So he retains his local time and three spatial dimensions as he travels back. But when he reaches his target era, (the 1950s?) he switches the lost dimension to time itself! Physically freezes, but he kept one thought in mind as he switched--a vivid visualization of the one-ton weight appearing in the quad of a local college. So when the time-trip ends, the weight mysteriously stays behind. A thought held so firmly has to become true: he impressed it on spacetime, took advantage of the freezing to lengthen his visualization!

I always knew Shevek was clever.

On his next trip, he takes back small inventions. Leaves them in the quad of a big-city college, where someone'll pick them up and recognize their implications. They'll spread quickly.

And it works. No one knows quite who invented them, but Shevek's little time-gifts become part of the fabric of society 30-40 years sooner than they would. It's the only way he could think of that enriches society and alters history without any traceable agent. He's cautious.

But, strangely enough, he hopes to profit from all this; it's not altruism. I don't see how can he make money off it, but he thinks he does.

But Shevek has forgotten one thing--we're all in someone's past! Someone from HIS future, knowing his own technique (I suspect it's a later, wiser Shevek) comes back to now, and discreetly seeds Shevek's era with ideas and inventions that make Shevek's own changes irrelevant!

His meddling is canceled out, though I don't see quite why...

Then I realize there may be NO reason, and no future time-cop or social worker protecting the past. Maybe it's just inevitable--a sort of entropic force. Or simple reaction!

If you push time, does time push back?

If you tweak time, does time tweak you? Chronohomeostasis!

NOTES IN THE MORNING...



LISTS AND LINKS: geniuses - time travel - other worlds - Ursula Le Guin / the Dispossessed - anarchists - duty and responsibility - life-paths - entropy and other natural laws - mistakes - the same night, a possibly psychic flying dream: Fly Over Slum - anarchy

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