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From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Free Live Free (2002 round table here/now) SPOILERS
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 00:08:48 -0600

mantis wrote:
>But this doesn't explain why Free says he is too old to use it.  Then
>again, he has advance knowledge of when he will be murdered and he isn't
>one to interrupt the flow, so that by itself can answer a lot of questions.

I wasn't really prepared for this, but . . .

I think all that Free meant was that he was literally too old and sick to
derive any benefit from using the gizmo again; after all, that was why he
left the frontier for good in the first place. Any physical benefit to be
gained from leaving from and returning to, roughly, the same time period (as
when he looked and felt better the second time around in 1942), was limited.
He said that the early-model gizmo that sent him back from 1952 three months
before he left "couldn't be controlled with pinpoint accuracy then". That
implies that subsequent refinements made use of the gizmo more precise. It
couldn't be used to 'cheat time', to keep himself forever young.
Physiologically, he aged more or less as any man would. He was ready to die
when Kip killed him.

>Next: High Country.  The wooden Laputa flying fort, served by one B-17.
>Established in 1942, still there but seemingly abandoned in 1982.  It
>carries the gizmo (the "big" gizmo?) which allows time-travel to 1952:
>Whitten walks through the door, ends up on High Country (1952), gets
>information on fission, which he takes back to 1942 . . . or no, wait, the
>big gizmo must take all of High Country with it, and the B-17, too?
>Because the B-17 and its crew are from the 1940s.

Whitten's explanation is as clear as mud. On the one hand, it seems that the
_High Country_ had been in one continuous flight for forty years (it
couldn't land!), otoh, it sometimes seems that both it and its tender plane
are transported. The crew of the B-17 mentions that they are in the

>1982 -- (age 53) Nov 5: B-17 spotted marks arrival of Whitten and team.
>1983 -- (age 53?) Jan 14: disappearance of Whitten when Free returns.
>                 Jan 16: Free's ad.
>                 Jan 17: The four move in.
>                 Jan 18: The novel begins.
>                 Jan 19: Kip takes Free prisoner.
>                 Jan 21: Kip kills Free, Whitten reappears.
>                 Jan 22: Before dawn, Whitten disappears again; High
>                         interview of Whitten/Free (age 60 - 70) who has
>                         experienced years since he saw them take off hours
>                 Jan 24: Man in duffle coat deserts.
>1803 -- (age 60) Ben Free joins Lewis & Clark expedition.

This is where the inevitable time paradoxes pop up. When Whitten, with Kip
and others, went from Aug., 1942 to Nov., 1982, they set up a base at the
airport. Two months later, old Free shows up and Whitten disappears for
seven days. Where was he? When Free is killed, Whitten returns, age 53.
Three days after that, Whitten deserts the time project, presumably for the
frontier. The next accounting we have of him is in 1803, age 60. Where was
he for seven years?



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