If you are considering traveling forward in time to watch your favorite television program, for example, Mad Men, do not travel back here and announce in the comments what happened. Hold your comments until after the program has aired and please label those comments as spoilers. This is especially true for the 2015 series finale!
Every time traveler has a secret. For some it is complex, for many it is regret. Who else would abandon the present for a reality that isn’t their own? I will admit I collect these secrets. People confide in me, and I try to be worthy of that trust. When Lois Kent, Q42, first told me she had lost a child I told her I was sorry and I warned her against traveling back to try to change the past.
Lois went back just far enough to save her son. She screamed and railed at the doctor who, in her timeline, had given up too soon on her infant. She did this as her other self, her past self, lay scarcely conscious in the delivery room, as her husband, her past husband, looked on, astonished, as an older version of his wife screamed and was taken from the room by security. The baby was saved. But what then?
The timeline diverged. Where was our Lois to go? She could not stay there, pitted against her younger self in a battle to decide who should raise the child. Most time travelers will tell you it is a difficult thing, getting along with yourself. Lois could not come back here. This timeline is too painful, though she does feel some relief knowing her child exists in some form of reality.
I am posting this story here because, at a meeting a few weeks ago, she has asked me to. She doesn’t want the secret any longer. Those of you who know Lois (Q42) know she has spent years studying and cataloging the alternate works of Hilda Belcher, a breif friend to Georgia O’Keefe, and highly talented painted. She posts many of her found works at her webs site
Without him, we wouldn’t understand the Butterfly Effect. In a timeline not far from this one, where Bradbury’s works went unappreciated, time travel will never be possible. It wasn’t a squashed butterfly which caused it. It was carelessly trampled dreams.
Over in that timeline they have few satellites, more books are burned, and there are no cell phones due to scarce imagination and, perhaps, for want of Ray Bradbury’s descriptions of “seashells” and “thimble radios.” They also have no internet, and so can not read this post. It’s a pity. They don’t know what we they are missing, or who we are missing.
“You want a peek?” A young gentleman asked the question. He held out his binoculars. He was eager to share. It was a moment of pure joy for him, watching the new queen pass. I took them. I looked. The Queen’s gilt carriage had already passed far enough I could only see her hands. Still, I let out a whistle so my new friend would feel I’d been impressed. He quickly took the binoculars back and scrunched his eyes up as he tried to get another glimpse, but of course it was too late.
I told him I liked the bells. Bells were ringing everywhere. He said he liked them too.
I looped back and did it again, getting his attention sooner. The second time I saw the queen. She looked quietly pleased. I told my new friend I liked the queen’s hat and he went bananas.
“A hat? You call that a hat! It’s a crown you bloody lunatic! A sacred crown!” He yanked the binoculars from me and stewed as he tried to focus on her.
On my third and final loop, I called her crown “resplendent” and he smiled as though I told him he was going be crowned king of the world.
The official site for the International Union of Time Travelers is now online. Please note that the content of this site may not be stable and is subject to change relative to your position and divergence from this timeline (Q42:NOP2014:521-67) . You may also notice some slippage in posting times with posts predating this one, even though the blog officially starts on this date. Do not be alarmed. There is a post scheduled to go live Tuesday, Janurary 21st, 2049 which should clarify any and all confusion, assuming you can find the correct divergent. If you intend to wait around, I suggest a periodic refresh of your browser.
The M19-M21 timelines should be considered off limits until June 6th at 1a.m., when the North American continent is no longer bombarded by super-tornadoes. Members wishing to study the phenomenon of double-wide S.U.V. vehicles should wait until that date, should have cigars on hand for bribes, and a working knowledge of creationist theory and climate change denial.
I must admit, the mechanics of Dr. Who baffle me, and I’ve seen 118 complete seasons.(If you have a chance to watch Patrick Stewart as the Doctor via timeline Q49:NOF1983, I highly recommend it.) I have yet to visit a timeline in which the inside of an object can be larger than its outside, though I did once have brunch with a girl who ate her double order of pancakes and mine, which did not seem possible, given her petite frame.
Such a manipulation of space may be possible, but I can’t see how. It would require a type of physics that does not, to my knowledge, exist.
I generally council against traveling to timelines so divergent from your own as to be unrecognizable. There is a theory that no one ever returns from the NV12 divergents is because the gravitational force itself (not the mass of the Earth) is different enough to be more than disorienting; it is deadly. The Tardis might look nice, but I wouldn’t want to have my molecules scrambled just to have a look inside.
Modern Temporal Historians are fascinated not by what could have been, but by what almost was. The extraordinarily narrow 2000 presidential election, is heavily studied, not just because of the slim margin of victory, but because of the subsequent events that followed. (From the Q42 timeline).
Most often, I’m afraid, the 9/11 attacks still occur. Of 188 ‘Alt Gore’ timelines surveyed at the time of this post, the attack on the World Trade Center occurs 102 times. There are an additional 17 timelines in which the target is changed to the Empire State Building or various other targets within New York City, and 12 reported misses into the Hudson River.
I don’t mean to report on these events with dispassion. I’ve done three of these surveys myself and it is horrible to watch the tragedy unfold. The worst part is not because you are powerless to prevent it, but because you aren’t. (More on that in a different post.)
Further out, in a Gore presidency there is never an invasion of Iraq, though there is a single disastrous report of an invasion of Iran. 69 timelines report a war with Afghanistan within 100 days. Most of these become protracted. Gore is re-elected in approximately half the war timelines, overwhelmingly so in the 7 timelines where Osama Bin Laden is caught.
I visited one of these most recently, avoiding the grim photos that swept the internet. Bin Laden was killed July 23rd, 2003 by U.S. Army soldiers from 87th Infantry Regimen. No individual would take credit for the kill, preferring instead that credit be given to the whole of the 1st Battalion. The U.S. is like a party for the remainder of the summer.
The long term effect upon the U.S. would startle anyone in this timeline. Gore used his credibility and approval rating to make possible all manner of alternative energy initiatives. This lead to a tremendous breakthrough in solar technology which, by the concurrent 2016, will allow 30% of U.S. energy use to come from renewable sources. In your timeline, America will still be woefully dependent on foreign oil in 2016.
These reports do not count three dozen or so surveys which stem from an earlier divergent line where Gore wins the 2000 election easily because the Monica Lewinsky scandal never went public, didn’t happen, or a slight smarter America didn’t care.
The Board of the International Union of Time Travelers has agreed to take 3 questions from non-time-travelers or other persons curious about, but not active in, temporal mechanics or multiverse exploration. Questions regarding cheese desserts, prognostication, typographical errors and Chuck Norris will be rejected out of obvious necessity to maintain the integrity of this blog, and the fabrical illusion of contiguous cause and effect.
If you would like your question answered, please ask it clearly and politely in the comments below. Each question will be answered as time allows.