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From: "Roy C. Lackey" <rclackey@stic.net>
Subject: (urth) Time and Fate
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 01:01:19 

    I knew better than to bring up time-travel paradoxes; it's an argument
that isn't winnable by anyone, yet I still maintain what I wrote earlier.
But, because time travel _isn't_ possible--other than in the personal,
poetic, linear-future sense that John Bishop alluded to--I can't go back and
change it. It is precisely _because_ time-travel stories necessarily involve
paradoxes that some authors attempt to circumvent them by various plot
devices; time travel only in one direction, one-time-only time travel,
alternate timelines, limited time-travel duration, etc. Once unlimited time
travel is postulated then most anything is possible, given enough time. <g>

    The only continuity there can be, from the point of view of the time
traveler, is in memory, which, by definition, is always of the personal
past. Thus John Bishop's Dr. Parah, having published the purloined books,
becomes, for their readers, their author. Dr. Parah knows better. Sev, when
Canog overhears him, is relating the plot of Dr. Talos's play, not events
from his memory. Without resorting to the time-travel-paradox-dodging
gimmicks mentioned above, one is left with such paradoxes.

    When the entire universe--Urth's universe--can be traversed, spatially
and temporally, from beginning to end, by a ship such as Tzadkiel's, then
any possible outcome one desires can be achieved. Just keep doing it over
and over again until you get it right, or cause it not to have happened in
the first place. All crises are false. There is no freewill; all is
predetermined by whomever/whatever gets to make the rules. The game is
fixed, and for all the myriad pawns--who are legion--that's just too damned

    When Tzadkiel, at the Brook Madregot, tells Sev that he could not have
died before his test, nor die before he brings the New Sun, then that is
predestination. Whether Sev is aware or not at any point in his life of this
is irrelevant; his "free will" is an illusion. He can not act differently
because he did not act differently--in the future. This is not my opinion;
this is what the text says, chapter XL of _Urth_. Also there:

    "It must have appeared to Agilus and Typhon, and to many of the others
who struggled against you, that the fight was an unequal one. If they had
been wise, they would have known the fight was over already, some where and
some time; but if they had been wise, they would have known you for our
servant and not fought against you at all."

    For all the unwashed masses, now washed in the New Flood of the New
Sun's coming, who had no part in old Sol's death agonies and resurrection,
but who had their personal time machines--their lives--snuffed out because
of it, it must have come as no small satisfaction, as their lives flashed
before their eyes, that their deaths were just "collateral damage" in a
cosmic game that needn't have been played at all, or, if played, might just
as well have been played by other rules on another board with different


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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