The Family Of Man series is set in the Ectometaverse, which was needed to explain how a time traveler could meet himself.
Let me try to describe this reality mathematically, in terms of coordinates. You should be familiar with three-dimensional geometric spaces whose points are described by coordinates (x,y,z). Let me assume this indicates the tip of your nose. A coordinate system needs an origin, a place to make the distance measurements from. Let our origin be (0,0,0) the point of the Big Bang in our universe.
Our universe? Well, the one where your consciousness is at the moment. And yes, this reality exists in a multiverse. So, we need another coordinate to indicate which universe we are talking about. Your nose is now at (u,x,y,z). If you don’t believe in a multiverse yet, let u = 0.
Many people are comfortable thinking of time as a “fourth-dimension.” So at any moment your nose would be at (u,x,y,z,t). If time starts at the Big Bang, then its smallest value would be 0. No negatives.
But, and this is important, time is not real. Not as real as space. It is our description of change in the organization of space. Perhaps think of time as the distance from the origin. Time is recognized by consciousness because of the sequential processing of code in the brain. The firing of neurons is the instruction pointer of the system.
In the Big Bang model, the universe is expanding like a bubble. So it has a surface. In these books that surface is the Horizon Of Now. Inside the bubble is the past. Outside the bubble is the future.
Inside the bubble, is where you and your nose are. Who/what are you? A consciousness. A thinking, sentient, being. This is a dualist reality. Consciousness and the brain are not the same thing. Consciousness is the program that runs on the hardware of the brain. Consciousness observes the physical universe. This reality requires the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which asserts that the universal wavefunction is objectively real, and there is no wavefunction collapse. All possible outcomes of quantum measurements are realized in some "world" or universe. Thus our Multiverse is the interior of the bubble, and you see why we have the ‘u’ coordinate.
But if the universe splits and you end up in both copies which one is ‘you’? Now we think outside the bubble, in what I call the Ectometaverse. ‘Ecto’ for outside, ‘meta’ for the non-physical nature of this place. This is where your soul is. Heaven? If you like. But you should think of this soul as a jellyfish with many tentacles, each reaching down from the ectometaverse to attach to one of your consciousnesses. The soul receives all experiences of each of its consciousnesses. Each consciousness is more or less aware of its soul, depending on its degree of enlightenment I suppose.
What if some physical being evolved to have a stronger connection to its soul, perhaps by mutations caused by space travel. What if that connection allowed it to interact with its other copies in the other universes? This is the multimind, which my Family of Man heroes and heroines possess. It is a useful mutation, since the Horizon Of Now is not smooth. Someone with a multimind could sense what might happen next in a similar universe in which he lives, and use it in his.
Finally, inside the bubble is the past, through which everyone has traveled. It still exists. The past exists forever, as does all the good and evil you have ever done. Your soul gets to ponder that through eternity. If we could somehow fold one of the paths taken by you through the multiverses so that it intersects itself, then you could be a time traveler that meets his younger self. That would, of course, create another branch for the younger you, else you would remember the meeting.
If you want a more poetical version, this is the theory that Krizel Kane explains in Time Travelers Are Schizophrenic.
Spreading a blue bandanna out on the ground ... “This is where we began,” he taps the corner of the square nearest to him and drops a blue marble hidden in his hand onto that spot. “That is where we are,” and he tosses two small James Berries carelessly onto the other side of the universe.
From around his neck he removes a Prometheus beetle and dumps it onto the bandanna near the blue marble. ... as it begins to slowly move in your direction.
“Up to that time, man traveled the solar system in ships that only crawled through the universes at a fraction of the speed of light. They were the fastest vessels that mankind had ever created.”
He reaches below the cloth making a wave of fabric under the creature. Riding the crest of that wave the insect quickly approaches you, until it walks off the cliff, covering the remaining distance to its goal in the blink of an eye.
“But there were beings that knew how to get to where they were going faster.”
“That is a good example of spatial catastrophe theory and of hyperspace travel! It’s how we all got here,” ...
He holds up a small, milky-white cube. “This represents the entire universe. Never mind the shape, if you want to think of it as a sphere for now you are free to do so, they are topologically equivalent. You and I are sitting here inside the cube, and yet we can imagine looking down on that cube from far outside it. Outside all dimensions, not just this cube’s three dimensions. We are of the universe and yet beyond it.”
He brings forth a piece of amber from Earth, containing frozen inside it two delicate winged insects. “But really, inside that cube of universe, we are no more than these captured creatures.” He tosses the rock onto the center of the galaxy. “There is no motion or growth or change within that cube,”
Krizel pours out more cubes into the space between you. He quickly arranges seven of them, one touching the other, in a row. Searching through that chaotic array, he picks out the two special cubes. Both of them are marked like a gambling die, but in place of the single black dot on the face of one of the cubes is a small image of a Prometheus beetle. The same image covers one of the dots of the four on the face of another cube. He holds them up for you to examine, then places them at either end of the string of cubes already on the bandanna between you. A wave of his hand and a thread of golden light weaves gracefully through the ivory snake from beetle to beetle.
“What we imagine as time and motion and seasons and life are actually our journey through these connected cubes.”
“I have had to exaggerate, but you can clearly see that the position of the space ship in the first cube is not quite the same as its position in the last cube. That golden line represents the path of the space ship that the beetle crawled along, but now you can see the universe cubes through which it has gone, and the time it has used up. The discontinuity in the trajectory that occurred when it fell off the fold in the universe is now represented like this,” and he taps the last cube. The mark of the beetle instantly moves to the center dot of the face with the three.
“It has traveled in space, but not through any of the universe cubes. There is no time path.”
He waves his hands in a complex pattern above the jumble of universes and several more chains of cubes arrange themselves on the surface, each one beginning at the same starting cube.
“From any universe cube we can construct many alternate chains of cubes. You could reach out and tap that first cube with just the lightest touch, with just a hint of a breath, and the path of those inside it would go this way” ... indicating the chain to his left ... “or that” ... indicating the longer chain reaching toward you.
The golden thread shoots out from the original cube along each chain in turn.
“From out here, you can even imagine traveling each one of these paths instead of just the original one.”
All the paths light at once, and then fade away.
“I never said what the span of each of these cubes was, how much time we experience along that chain from the first cube to the last. It could represent millennia, or it could represent microseconds. But any chain represents a time interval. Any location in a universe is represented by a point, or a sphere of appropriate size.”
He points to the original cube, and a golden dot glows inside. He draws his little finger away from his thumb, and the dot expands to a small sphere. A snap of his fingers and each cube scattered across the cloth shows the same golden drop at the same place within it.
“What if we could somehow take a chain of time, say that one over there,” seven consecutive cubes glow with the light of their contained time path, “and move it so that each universe cube and each golden sphere within it matches these, the ones that we started with? We demonstrated it before with the fold within a single universe, now imagine it being done by folding the multiverse.”
The cloth begins to move and fold, so that those cubes grow closer and closer together. You no longer care whether the old man is doing this by magic or by technology. It moves as if some unseen hand has stitched them together and is drawing the thread tight. None of the cubes fall off the surface as it moves. The two distinct chains of time merge, as the crystals begin to pass into or through each other. Inside each pair of matched universes the golden spheres grow closer, then touch, then blend into a single sphere.
“Then the individuals following paths through those two separate chains of time, are sharing the same space in the universe cubes. They have traveled in time! One has traveled forward in time and one backward. Their direction of travel through time doesn’t concern us. It is all relative.”
By now the display, and the cubes, and the lights have all condensed into Krizel’s pouch again, and he grabs the top with his left hand and places it back into his shoulder bag.
“That is what happened on that day to Sievaahdra Jesstar Aaouen, to Edward Bobet and the Wampanoag war party, to Shamel Jackson and his men, to the Fishman and to me. The multiverse folded and our timelines merged. Now, go and play the sim and see for yourself.”
The Cluster series has a "quantum-Platonic" topology that allows, among other things, faster-than-light travel.
The Cluster Series is set in a reality that is a superset of our own physical universe, which, although infinite, actually has a boundary. Science has reached that boundary, but has failed to cross it. Katie Ray, the physics prodigy, is fearless. She has published under a pseudonym a theory, rejected by science, that has caught the attention of others. Simply stated, here it is:
All matter and energy can be described by loops of quantum strings. But thought is not physical even though it depends on neuro-chemicals and electricity. Thought exists beyond the boundary of the physical universe, as loops of spiritual quantum strings interlocked through loops of physical quantum strings. The entire spiritual universe grows out from there to include every thought, every theory, every god, in an infinite cosmic collective unconscious. Between the two, threaded through the interlocking loops is the Reality Field, the Borderland between the Infinite Inner and the Outside, between the physical and the spiritual universes.
The Spirit Cloud series, my most recent, has not yet explained its alternate reality. What we see is a mystery or a miracle. Everyone in the world has their own theory about what is happening. Some, refuse to believe that the Wonderballs contain the souls of sentient beings. After all, they are just manufactured crystals and computers, no more than amazingly powerful artificial intelligences. The fact that they have the capacity to support an AI as complex as the human brain doesn’t mean they actually think! Others believe these artifacts have been possess ed bydevils.
I show you the truth in two ways. The first, with the main character, Gerry Wong. Not only has he been “reincarnated” into a Wonderball, but he is the cause for the chaos, having developed the technique of using a holographic overlay of his own brain waves to speed up the programming of the quantum crystal’s artificial neural network. The second, is with the brief, traumatic, arrival of many of the millions of other reincarnated souls. However, no one of those thrust back into the physical universe knows how they returned. They all remember their lives, and their deaths, but they seem to have no metamemory of “being” dead. And what happened to them is beyond their comprehension. Some adapt. Others do not.
All of this leaves unanswered questions. How did Gerry’s process cause this to happen? Can it be reversed? And what about the “afterlife?” No one remembers being there, not those brought back into the Wonderballs, and not the living. So, should I take you there into the afterlife? Should we look back into this world from the other? Can we? That would mean I might have to choose among the myriad religious and philosophical beliefs about the beyond. Or, could there be many heavens, and many hells, each existing simultaneously and separate from the others. Are spirits lined up out there for the next available open door to here? Do they get to choose the best Wonderball to enter? Perhaps I’ll enter this realm in the next book.
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