Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on quantum physics, time travel, and so forth as preparation for Star Trek DTI. I want to ground my treatment of Trek temporal physics in as much real science as possible. So I’ve been reading articles and papers as well as hard-SF novels on time travel.
Today I finally got around to visiting the index of John G. Cramer’s “Alternate View” sciene columns for Analog Science Fiction and Fact. One of the columns I read there, “Quantum Telephones to Other Universes, to Times Past”, involved the concept of nonlinear quantum mechanics, an idea that, if true, might allow communication between alternate timelines, something that the conventional linear model of QM deems impossible. I figured this idea might serve a particular purpose in my book, though I hadn’t worked out the details yet and needed to do some more reading on the subject.
Then, just a little while ago, I did some reading in a book I’ve been working through all week, The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter, which is a 1995 sequel to H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, written in the same style as if by the same narrator, but based on modern notions of physics including Many-Worlds quantum mechanics. And the part I was reading, in the “White Earth” portion late in the book, involved the main characters having a discussion of — get this — nonlinear quantum mechanics and how it might allow communication between timelines! And when I read about it in the terms used by Baxter, it clarified the idea further and let me realize that this tied into a key element of my time-travel model for DTI and might be the answer to tying some rather fundamental things together in a coherent way.
Then the fact sank in that I came across something so potentially important twice in the span of five hours. That was a “whoa” moment. Of course, I know coincidences happen. And given that I’ve been aggressively researching the theoretical physics of time travel from various angles for weeks, it was inevitable that I’d come across this idea eventually. After all, the number of ideas in theoretical physics pertaining to time travel is finite and the same ideas will be discussed in various different places. And since I’m reading up on so many of them in various sources within a short amount of time, it’s not really that unlikely that I might come upon one in two different sources on the same day. So I know there’s nothing special about what happened. My own choices created a selection pressure that increased the probability of such an event to a moderately high level.
But for such a moment of synchronicity to occur specifically when I’m looking into matters of quantum probability and causality violation… and for it to be something that might be an answer I’ve been seeking for weeks… well, it’s certainly a weird sensation. And the more fanciful side of my nature wouldn’t mind taking it as a good omen.