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Ah, another holy grail of science fiction and science has once again caught my eye and imagination in a interesting fashion. The culprit, this time, is time-travel. Sort of. Allow me to explain.

It all starts with quantum physics. You know, that branch of science guilty of giving people headaches since it went mainstream with Schrödinger’s infamous half alive, half dead cat. Schrödinger thought it would be a grand idea to theorize about quantum entanglement with the great Einstein, even if it left him with a sour taste in his mouth. Well, some enterprising scientists went in another direction with quantum entanglement.

For a long time, the nonlocality portion of quantum physics was looked at as a physical thing. Nonlocal translates into not here for most people, which perceived as a distance concept. A small group of scientists took nonlocality as not now, a perception of time. The successfully entangled two photons which lifespans didn’t overlap at all. You can find all the details of how they managed it here, because I’m not sure I understand the full process.

This new piece of scientific breakthrough does offer a unique mechanism for those authors who need a real base for their time traveling characters or how events can be changed.An enterprising character might even use this bit of science for other reasons. A charlatan wouldn’t ever have to guess the future when they can make t truth with a little bit of quantum science in their bag of tricks. They can make it true.

Changing history, past or future, might be my favorite idea inspired by this. Take the Civil War, a well-worn example in alternate history fiction. Now we can have a basis for that little thing that changed which inspired Sherman to continue his march through the South, or made Lee refuse to negotiate a surrender, or diverted Booth from his murderous task. Who knows?

Would we notice?

-T.A. Creech

Science in the pursuit of Fiction


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