The Start of Eternity

In a previous blog post I wrote about placing a sequel to Isaac Asimov's novel, The End of Eternity, within what I call the Exodemic Fictional Universe. The sequel to The End of Eternity is called The Start of Eternity, and it tells not only the story of how Eternity (a device that makes time travel possible) came into existence, but also how it is ultimately removed from existence.

If you have read Asimov's novel, The End of Eternity, you might think that Asimov already wrote Eternity out of existence. However, ask yourself this: what if there was more than one world with access to Eternity? That is found to be true in The Start of Eternity, so getting rid of time travel as not a easy as depicted by Asimov in The End of Eternity. In The Start of Eternity I'm concerned with how to completely remove the possibility of time travel from our universe...and my surgical work does not stop there. In effect, Asimov's entire fictional universe that included The End of Eternity, his Foundation series and his Robot Series are written out of our Reality!

Of course, I have mixed feelings about harshly treating Asimov's fictional universe of time travel, galactic empires and telepathic robots. On one hand, the details of his "fictional future history" have been shown by the passage of time to not have come true. Our reality has diverged from the narrative that was told by Asimov in his robot stories. On the other hand, Asimov developed the idea of "Reality Changes", alterations to the course of historical events triggered by time travel and the intervention of time travelers to alter the course of events. I think it would be fun to honor Asimov by "giving him a dose of his own medicine", by writing him into the story (The Start of Eternity) and showing that the fictional universe he wrote about was based on the actual history of the previous Reality of Earth, that is, the historical timeline of Earth before there was a change that created our own Reality.

Asimov tended to use third-person omniscient narrative when telling his stories about robots and future galactic empires. Rather than imagine that Asimov actually was omniscient, we can imagine that he wrote about the Foundation Reality by making use of his memories of that Reality. If we imagine that:
1) Asimov was born in the Foundation Reality, the historical timeline described in his Foundation series
2) time travel technology was used to change the course of events on Earth, ending the Foundation Reality and bringing into existence our Reality,
then the question becomes:
How was Asimov able to move from his Reality to our Reality and bring along his personal knowledge of the Foundation Reality, allowing him to write about it?

The obvious answer is that Asimov must have made use of time travel technology himself. As described by Asimov in his time travel novel, Eternity is actually a kind of "bubble universe", a place that exists outside of the conventional universe. People who are inside Eternity become insulated from changes to the historical timeline that are caused by time travel. In the Foundation Reality, Asimov comes into contact with a time traveler from his future, a robot named Gohrlay. Gohrlay is a telepathic robot who has been the main driver of Earthly events in the Foundation Reality. Gohrlay is being hunted by aliens who want to terminate Gohrlay and the entire Foundation Reality. In desperation, Gohrlay provides Asimov with a vast amount of information about the future of Asimov's world.

What I am imagining is that Gohrlay uses the kind of "memory transfer" technology described by Asimov in his Second Foundation novel...the kind of technology that we must assume is also used by robots such as Daneel to transfer memories into new host bodies. After the robot Gohrlay transfers his memories into Asimov, the aliens discover what has happened to Asimov and they are not happy. Since the aliens are intent on erasing the Foundation Reality from existence and they cannot trust Asimov (who now has his head full of Gohrlay's memories), the aliens take Asimov with them, back inside Eternity. Thus, when the aliens alter history and shift Reality from the Foundation Reality to our Reality, Asimov is protected within Eternity and retains his memories of the Foundation Reality. I'm thinking that Asimov is unhappy with his fate (essentially being the prisoner of the aliens), and finds a way (using Gohrlay's memories of how Eternity works) to sneak back to Earth...ultimately writing "fictional" accounts of the Foundation Reality....accounts which are really based on the memories that were downloaded from Gohrlay's robotic brain into Asimov's mind. For now, I'm imagining that our Reality was blessed with two copies of Asimov, one imported from the Foundation Reality and also the one born here in our reality. Maybe we can finally begin to account for Asimov's prodigious output of both fiction and non-fiction!

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