” A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called ‘leaves’) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person – perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic. “
– Carl Sagan, Cosmos (1980)
Came across this yesterday; seems all the more poignant now that Sagan himself is speaking to us beyond his time.
Our time in Australia was coming to a close. Our month and a half in Perth was far from uneventful: between Lucy’s work we saw and did plenty. We kayaked to Penguin Island (where, while snorkelling, I had a surprise random encounter); revisted Margaret River for some incredible cattle mustering on Horseback at Jester’s Flat; saw the sweet French film ‘Romantics Anonymous’ at the open-air cinema at the Somerville Auditorium at the University of West Australia. We met some of Lucy’s West-Oz relatives, caught up with Lorne on his continuing cycling adventure up past Perth and beyond.
As established already*, Liang Oscillation is the behaviour exhibited by the continuum of spacetime when altered. The quantum states of particles are defined by the 5th ‘meta dimension’, which is best thought of as the path of spacetime. When a Chrononaut alters past events (or visits them), they enact a change on the shape that spacetime occupies in the meta dimension.
Plotting a space-time graph, we can imagine the history of a complex system to be represented as a line. From an abserver looking at this history the system’s history is fixed. To the present, the past is a straight line and the future is non existant. Now, if we make a small change to the system at a point some time ago, spacetime will ‘veer off’, as a sequence of chaos amplifies to make a very immediate change. This ‘butterfly effect’ was predicted by Chaos Theory as early as 2.0.C. However, unknown at the time, a curious property of the meta dimension is that the path of quantum probability has an ‘optimum’, almost like a river settling into a valley. This leads a change in the system to eventually reverse and invert repeatedly, our ‘line’ of spacetime waving up and down until the deviances slowly converge and the system’s distant future is largely unchanged from how it was originally; hence the ‘occillation’ Dr Liang postulated in 2.9.C.
The most compelling evidence for the impossibility of Time Travel has always been the complete lack of people from the future, when such things will inevitably come to exist.
With the advent of Chronoportology, it became clear that the reason for a lack of travellers from the future was to do with the availability of information, or lack thereof. As the destination of a time jump required accurate, specific information, the earliest jump date possible was generally around the time that Chronoportology itself was invented. In many minds this rendered time travel largely useless, but helped guard its integrity from some forms of abuse by unscrupulous individuals.
In any case, the act of Chronoporting is not something undertaken lightly; involving a gravitas and severity that was previously associated with the deployment of nuclear warheads. Each ship is made to withstand the intense warping and fracturing of no more than one return journey, with one notable exception; the Temporal Navigator Novodantis.
Being the year 2010 has understandably made a lot of people very reflective. While I myself, normally more reflective than a centennial summary made of chrome plated mirrors, have been experiencing a pretty passive new year for a change.
One thing I am still disappointed by is that we never did come up with a good name for the Noughties. I still don’t think I can reconcile with that term to the point where I can use it in conversation. But the decade ahead is even worse. Teenies? Oh. Please. No.
Changing the timeline causes it to, in simple terms, wobble (rather than simply veer off), as exhibited in Liang Oscillation. The study of this is called Liang Wave Theory. It is thought the shape of the 5th ‘Meta-dimension‘ is what determines the nature of this wave. The 5th Meta-Dimension is essentially a modelling of the change in spacetime (although not strictly a dimension as such). Spacetime’s “path” is determined by the varying warp of the fabric of spacetime, producing a sort of shape of probability. It is thought that this warping is what determines the largely unknown specifics of Quantum States.
Different effects (such as a time traveller’s presence) can change spacetime’s path, but curvature of the meta-dimension largely determines its overall path. Like a river meandering through the trough of least resistance, if it is diverted it will still follow the groove of the terrain. I won’t delve further into fourth and fifth dimensions just now; suffice to say it’s the realm within which the Liang effect manifests itself.
The other important thing to note about Liang oscillation is that on occasion changes can cause time to alter its event flow completely, almost ‘jumping out of the trough’ to a whole new path. This abrupt and permanent change is called a Liang Cascade, and although it remains only a theory, there is no possible way of proving if one has or hasn’t happened already. They are considered a Chrononaut’s worst-case-scenario, as a Liang Cascade will alter the future on an irrevocable, unrecognisable new course.
“Chronoportology is the study of artificial traversal of the spacetime continuum; in essence, the science of Time Travel.”
– “Chronoportology: The Basics”, from the archives of the Novodantis
The history of time travel as a serious science is surprisingly sparse, up until the mid to late third millenium. By 2.9.C * it was growing fast, as new ways to transmit information along time were continually being discovered. However, there was a crucial limitation that prevented movement of a person against time’s flow.
The Law of Conservation of Energy states one of the cornerstones of known science: energy (and therefore mass) cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred. Because of this, the sum of matter and energy in the universe at any given moment will always be the same. In other words any object, such as a chrononaut, cannot physically move back in time (as any given quantum particle only exists once at any point in time). On the other hand, information is an abstract construct and thus circumvents the mass-energy constant.
Thus, a breakthrough came with the invention of Teleportation. This controversial new technology destructed mass at one location, then remotely assembled the pattern using atoms elsewhere. The implications were many: revolutionising transport, causing a multitude of religious wars (due to its shattering effects on the Self and supernatural concepts) and opening up the economy of the solar system. It was only a matter of time before the method was applied to Tetra-warp, the method of shifting atoms in the past. With this advancement, true Chronoportology was born.
The other great limitation to the practice (that remains unresolved), is the necessity of a highly accurate set of data about the target location and a heap of matter to manipulate. This target window and assorted matter is known as a Chronozone. Given that their creation and recording depends on prior knowledge of Chronoportology, destinations before the invention of time travel would appear impossible. This also explains why no time travelling has been witnessed in past records.
(*) – The Novodantis Core uses thirty-second century notation for centuries: eg. “2.9.C” = the twenty-ninth century.
The Liang Oscillation Effect (often referred to simply as “Liang Oscillation”) is the effect observed primarily by chrononauts; that is, people that have moved through the spacetime continuum in a non-natural manner.
Named after Dr Liang Shi Meng (梁时萌) in 2982, it is a theory describing the behaviour of altered time. Contrary to early concepts, changing past events doesn’t produce an alternate parallel timeline. Nor does that timeline skew off at a tangent, forever getting more and more different from the original events of history. Time, if modeled as a crude line on a graph, in fact oscillates like a wave when it is changed.
This is based on the concept that the effect of an event will be proportional in significance to its cause, the majority of the time. In other words, big changes will come from big things, typically. Sometimes we observe what we call the Butterfly Effect, when something very small sets off a chain of implications that snowball up into a massive effect. But the probability of one of these occurring is inversely proportionate to the difference in significance. Ergo, a butterfly and hurricane are a factor difference of several billion and as such a given wing-beat has a one to a billion probability of being necessary for the hurricane formation. This is only measurable however with identical circumstances in the same time and space, requiring information to travel through time in order to produce precise results.