“For after death Time withdraws from the body…” —Proust
We all know now that the time-reversal invariance governing micro-level statistical mechanics maps by a simple equation onto the macroworld, making “time travel” a quite startling possibility… but damn it! The first time you go back there is nothing like it.
I know all that first person ChronoSwooping storytelling has become a cliche here on Substack, where let’s face it, anyone can write pretty much whatever they want no matter how forgiving and derivative. Nevertheless, I think I have some unusual insights to share, which stem from my own experience but which may offer general lessons about the nature and significance of time travel, both the original and long-banned method of ” body transit” as well as the newer and more streamlined ChronoSwoop.
It’s not just because I spent a few years in the archives of the Stadzbybliotiēka of the Margravate of East K****, poring over the notebooks in which Quast first landed on the equation of Quast, while at the same time noting various philosophical reflections on the nature of the Divine Tempus – as he called it – which have been largely overlooked by other scholars. It’s also because I used the ChronoSwoop app in a way expressly forbidden by its creators, and even by the federal government. In light of this, while I am writing this product review for Substack and in the emerging “Substack style”, until the law changes or I permanently deviate from the present chronologically, I will publish this article only on the Hinternet-based oglinda Substack (Romanian for “looking-glass”, a hacking neologism allegedly coined by Guccifer 3.0), which I am told is undetectable, remaining entirely unknown even to the founders of the original company . Crossed fingers.
Perhaps some readers of this oglinda will appreciate a brief summary of what has happened in the world of time travel since Quast came up with his equation in 1962. I don’t know what kind of information has been circulating here , and I don’t know. I don’t want anyone to feel left out.
The early 1960s saw great leaps forward not only in time travel technology, but also in teletransportation technology – that is, the dematerialization of the body, and its rematerialization elsewhere, but without any measurable “metachrony”. By late 1966, poorly regulated teleporters had begun popping up on the state fair circuit, tricking daredevils into ever dumber stunts. But this practice was already curtailed the following year, when, expecting to reappear kneeling before his sweetheart Deb at the stables with a ring in his hand, Roy Bouwsma, aka “the Omaha Kid”, rematerialized instead. with the stable door cutting straight through the center of his body from groin to skull – half of him collapsing at Deb’s feet, the other half falling, like a neat cross-section carefully made for the anatomy students, in the stable with Deb’s confused horse, Clem.
But while that excruciating moment, broadcast live on KMTV, nipped the new craze in the bud, the underlying technology had already been adapted for use in what was then called “Tempus-Gliding”, which didn’t had only the apparent advantage of concealing from those in the present any potential mishaps in the traveler’s rematerialization to the past. Of course, the crashes kept happening, and their news eventually trickled down from the past to the present, leading to all sorts of familiar paradoxes in the space-time continuum. Tempus-Gliding, like any metachronic technology relying on bodily transit, was a door wide open to all the crazy scenarios we know of from science fiction time travel tropes going back at least to HG Wells: adults returning to the past and meeting each other as children, meeting their parents before they were even born, never being born and so suddenly disappearing, and so on. In the late 1960s, people, and sometimes entire families, entire bloodlines, were disappearing daily (just remember the 1969 Harris family reunion in Provo!). You could almost never tell exactly why, since the past traveler who would unwittingly wipe out all his descendants had often, in the present, never even tried Tempus-Gliding.