In recent days, I’ve found myself picking up and rereading Michael Crichton’ sci-fi novel Timeline, which is not a great book, but modestly diverting.
(It was made into a movie — the above photo is from that — that somehow, through the special magic of Hollywood, managed to make the story even more disappointing than the original.)
No, it’s not a time-travel story, as the characters keep protesting (but sometimes they speak as though they’ve forgotten it, and act like it IS time travel). Basically, the premise is that a tech company has come up with a way to transport people and objects to other universes in the multiverse (by sending them through holes in quantum foam, or something). And since there is an infinity of them out there, and gazillions of those are almost-but-not-completely exactly like our own, you can travel to one that is exactly like this ‘verse back in the 13th century.
So the protagonists do that, and have adventures — most of them having to do with trying to get back to our own here-now, because the denizens of that other ‘verse keep going all medieval on their a__es.
So this has me thinking about how in such a multiverse, butterfly effects might cause every ‘verse to keep splitting into ones that will be henceforth forever different from each other. (Or something like that; I admit it’s hard to think coherently about this stuff because it’s so batty.)
Which gets me to thinking about how I’m in the wrong ‘verse now. I’m supposed to be in the rational, enlightened, Madison-Hamilton one in which it would be impossible for someone like Donald Trump to become president, and in which even if something so outrageous happened, the Congress would soon (like, way before now) rectify the situation through the process of impeachment.
I’m not sure how this happened to the creature I think of as “me.” Maybe I ate the wrong thing for breakfast one morning, or got up a few seconds too late (being the me that lives in this universe, it’s highly unlikely I got up too early). But I’m pretty sure this is not the ‘verse I’m supposed to be in.
And things are getting worse in this here-now. We know, thanks to the clever people who figured out stuff like quantum foam, that the universe tends toward entropy. Well, this one also tends toward stupidity. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but that tendency has been accelerating ever since we took that wrong fork in 2016. As I write this, the erstwhile “greatest deliberative body the world has known” is about to acquit Trump, facilitating the process by preventing the presentation of witnesses and evidence, because even they have enough residual intelligence to understand that facts would condemn him.
We’re just spinning off into Idiocracy at an alarming rate.
The head of that tech company in the novel is a prize jerk, but maybe some Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos or someone like that in this world should get busy on the quantum technology so we have a chance to get outta this madhouse of a universe and get over to one that makes sense….