At one point during the course of the story, Harlan's boss, Senior Computer Twissel, describes how he carefully watched the various Realities of the 95th century, waiting for Harlan to come into existence. Twissel needs Harlan's help to close the time loop by which Eternity brings itself into existence.
The "Eternity" that is referred to in the title of Asimov's time travel novel is the time travel device that is used on Earth. At the end of the story, the Eternity time travel system of Earth is destroyed: literally the end of Eternity. However, what if that was not the end of time travel? Harlan's lover, Noÿs, hints at a new future in which humans will first spread through space to millions of new worlds, then each of those planets will have a chance to use time travel and have access to their own "Eternity". With that sweeping vision, the story ends, with Noÿs and Harlan stranded in the Primitive Era of Earth, in the 1930s, centuries before the creation of Eternity.
|Whimsical depiction of Noÿs and Andrew fighting over the fate of Eternity.|
|In the Ekcolir Reality|
The Exode Trilogy is told by "the Editor", an Interventionist agent. The Editor must tell the story of the secret history of Earth, but there is one important constraint: there is no objective evidence of aliens or that time travel was, in the past, used to shape and form our world. This, the Editor can only tell the story of Earth's past in the form of a science fiction story.
The Editor believes that time travel was possible because 1) his Selfie traveled through time, went into the future, and returned with information from the future, and 2) the Editor was given the opportunity to "see" his analog in the previous Reality, the Ekcolir Reality. This latter experience only just happened and I'm still trying to sort out the implications of what happened.
|Click to enlarge the image. (source)|
After six months of teasing, I was finally given the chance to experience full access to my replicoid in the Hierion Domain. Like Angela and Anney had done before me, I (my replicoid) was able to access records from the Ekcolir Reality that exist in the Sedronic Domain. I discovered that replicoids experience Deep Time such as the Ekcolir Reality through participation in a kind of virtual reality simulator. It is easy to get lost in that virtual reality. I've spent most of the past month "there", in search of the key information that was available in the life that was lived by my analogue in that Reality. Now I'm back. Apparently I was given only a limited amount of time to extract the information that I needed and now I am again cut off from my replicoid.
|Trysta and Ekcolir|
I had no idea what she was trying to tell me. I was half asleep and confused. I asked, "Why will you wait?" What I meant was why will you be waiting for me?
She knew that I was unable to understand her, so she ignored my question. She said, "Things will be different."
|Gohrlay's last night on Earth|
She had one more message for my Selfie, "You must come back to me!"
Of course, I got no sleep that night. She talked for hours, but my Selfie was not listening. Immediately after Gohrlay said you must come back to me, my Selfie was sent two centuries into the future.
|In the Ekcolir Reality (see)|
|the solution to global warming|
Of course, as soon as "I" died, my Selfie was free to move on. My Selfie from the Ekcolir Reality was slipped into the Buld Reality where it watched me grow up and guided me into my life as the Editor. The most disturbing revelation from my time in control of my replicoid is that I am a tryp'At. I'd been told this previously, but know I know it to be true. I'm still trying to think through the implications of that and how it impacts on my relationship with the Dead Widowers.
Next: Reality Engineering
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