A Brief Word on Multiple Realities

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Most modern time travel fiction that I've read or seen is based on the idea of multiple realities. From a fictional standpoint, this resolves the old time travel connundrum of "Could I go back in time and kill my grandfather because wouldn't that cause me to cease to exist?" If we say there are multiple realities, then the person who travels has not so much traveled in time as to another reality, one in which they are free to kill their grandfather, shoot their dog or whatever, but the outcome in that reality won't in any way effect the outcome in their "starting" reality.

The "logical" conclusion of this idea is that there are an infinite number of realities out there, each spawned every time a decision is made. This morning, when you had to choose between strawberry jam or grape jelly for your toast, you spawned several realities. There's the reality where you chose grape, the one where you chose strawberry, the one where you decided not to have jelly at all, the one where the toaster caught fire and burned down the house, leaving just a charred reminder of your sorry existance underneath the rubble of the kitchen table, etc.

People who support this theory of multiple realities will often say there is theoretical math that proves the possibility of multiple realities. The possibility. You see, it's not really provable (as normal people define "provable").

Therefore, the universe of Garison Fitch (which includes "All the Time in Our World" as well as anything else I've written) assumes that the possibility is not a possibility and works from the assumption that there's only one reality and one timeline and Garison somehow altered it. This makes some people mad. They have so fully bought into the concept of multiple realities that they cannot conceive of a story based in and on a single reality.

What strikes me as funny about this is: "Dude! It's fiction!" The nature of fiction is to tell a story that isn't in such a way that the reader thinks it could be, or--at the very least--understands the premise. So if I, as the author, want to tell a story predicated on a single timeline (or on the concept that the sky is plaid or that politicians are innately altruistic) then a] that's my right and 2] it behooves me to stay true to my premise within the story (unless it's part of the story that the character is finding his assumptions challenged or changed).