|Cover art by Boris Vallejo|
I'm a huge fan of Isaac Asimov's famous time travel novel, The End of Eternity. Asimov observed that time travel simply provides too many opportunities for fun. Science fiction authors just can't resist the temptation to write stories that include travel through time.
The original time machine was a brain. Human brains are fairly good at keeping track of memories and ordering them according to a linear axis of time, but it is not hard to twist your thoughts and create altered sequences of events in your mind. Our primate ancestors long ago learned to think about temporal sequencing in a fluid fashion (I'll wait until the alpha male is not looking before I.....).
|Whimsical poster for The End of Eternity. Imagine|
that Noÿs had the "magical" power of telepathy.
In The End of Eternity, "Eternity" is the name of the time travel technology. At the end of the novel, time travel is used to go back in time and change the course of human history so as to make it impossible for time travel to be invented on Earth.
|R. Gohrlay, the discoverer of time travel|
Asimov also toyed with the idea that positronic robots used the power of time travel to place humans into a universe in which no other intelligent species existed within our galaxy. I think that was an even more lame idea, but he wanted to find a way to fit The End of Eternity into his "humans only" Foundation Saga.
In the Exode Trilogy, I cut the Gordian Knot and create a sequel to The End of Eternity in which I imagine that Noÿs Lambent simply did not reveal the complete truth about aliens to Andrew Harlan. Noÿs was a secret agent who was designed, trained and deployed by R. Gohrlay, the first positronic robot.
Due to a strange fluke of Neanderthal evolution, R. Gohrlay's positronic brain was able to greatly amplified the natural telepathic of Gohrlay, the human whose brain pattern was used as a template for the creation of positronic brains. This good "luck" allowed R. Gohrlay to liberate Humanity from the alien Huaoshy. In an ironic twist, it was only the meddling of the Huaoshy in human evolution that led to the creation of positronic robots in the first place, as told in The Foundations of Eternity.
The Huaoshy are not pushovers. They developed a technologically advanced civilization two billion years before we primitive Earthlings. However, after R. Gohrlay's cadre of positronic robots engage the Huaoshy in a Time Travel War, eventually they reach a negotiated settlement. The Huaoshy discover that time travel was only possible because of Huaoshy meddling in the dimensional structure of the universe. After the Tryst-Grean Pact goes into effect, the Huaoshy once again alter the dimensional structure of the universe, now making all further time travel impossible.
If you bother to think carefully about the implications of time travel, as Asimov did when writing The End of Eternity, then your thoughts really should include aliens.
|Seldon, Vega and Nicotine|
Next: why did Asimov insert Vega and tobacco into Foundation?