Conversations With Myself
When I first conceived the story concept for Conversations With Myself, I couldn’t help but recognize the similarities to Dan Kirk’s wonderful Do Over Series, hosted at Gay Authors, which hosts a number of my stories as well. Although I cannot deny the possibility that Dan’s stories had an influence on mine, right down to the idea of a mad scientist operating out of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the San Francisco Bay Area, the genesis for my story came from a different spark. In Conversations With Myself, we are dealing with a case of convergent evolution of similar ideas rather than my ‘theft’ of Dan’s idea. However, I cannot deny a potential influence of Dan’s work. I have contacted Dan and have his full permission to develop my story concept. I would be remiss, regardless, if I did not pay tribute to Dan Kirk, one of the finest authors on the Net.
If you are familiar with the Do Over Series, you’ll recall that subjects are able to alter history by transferring their memories back in time, effectively reliving their lives over again from that moment onward. In principle, they are able to use a modified MRI machine to scan their current memories and then send these back through time, using them to rewrite the memories stored in their brain at some point in the past, overwriting what was previously there. A ‘quantum bubble’ that exists outside of normal space-time allows them to survive while the transfer takes place.
In Conversations With Myself, I take a different approach. As with the Do Over Series, I assume that physical time travel is impossible, but that information can be sent back in time. Some incredible paradoxes would be created if one replaced their memories with an update from the future, so I wouldn’t even suggest doing that.
The problem with time travel in any form has always been that it requires the ability to travel faster than light, or in this case to send information faster than light. My main character, Christopher Michaels, hypothesizes the existence of paired ‘quantum variations’ that exist in time, making it possible to form a tunnel between two points in time. Effectively, he can use the tunnel to share his thoughts with a former version of himself, but only to a distance of seven years in adulthood, and even less in adolescence.
Although there is no actual time travel involved, it still amounts to meddling with the timeline, and there will certainly be paradoxes, and unintended consequences…
This story is narrated by Christopher Michaels, a physicist who does research in quantum physics, on the relationship between quantum states and time. He comes to work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, one of the preeminent research facilities in the world for weapons development. Although Livermore is best known for its research on nuclear weapons, it employs a number of scientists working in obscure, often strictly theoretical areas of science — virtually anything with the potential to be used as a weapon either for or against the United States. Various aspects of time travel have always been of interest for a variety of reasons. Although considered unlikely to pan out in the end, anything that could be used to alter the course of history must be taken seriously and explored. The possibility that technology could be developed to alter the past, to undo our mistakes or to prevent a future national catastrophe makes Chris’ work something that cannot be ignored, no matter how hare-brained it may seem. The possibility that someone else could develop the technology first or steal it from us, then use it against us, is the stuff of nightmares. It’s the sort of thing that keeps presidents up at night. An apt description of Chris’ work describes it as a high-risk, high-yield project — one with little chance of success but that could literally alter the course of human history. Although the ability to send a person physically back in time remains the stuff of science fiction, what Chris discovers is no less powerful — the ability to send information back in time.
Because he develops the ability to communicate with himself in the past, we will encounter Chris at a variety of stages throughout his lifetime, often within the same chapter. Although hypothetically, it might be possible for Chris to go back further in time to contact himself at any time since his birth, the plasticity of the brain in childhood effectively prevents making contact before early adolescence. Additionally, there is a seven-year limitation that makes it impractical to go back any further in time, once contact has been made. Chris will effectively establish a chain of communication going back into his own past. There will be five links in the chain connecting six nodes that represent specific time periods in his life. Even as he works toward building the chain, the seven-year limit will ensure that time progresses simultaneously in all six time periods.
To avoid confusion, the following table shows how each of these time periods is linked together. The table shows the year, the age Chris attains in April of that year and age that his son, Andy, attains in March of that year.
Chris was born in April, 1966 and when we first encounter him, it will be at the age of twelve, in the fall of 1978 at the start of the seventh grade, his first year of junior high school. We will visit him in his mid-to-late teens, as he finishes high school and begins college, and in his mid twenties, when he struggles with graduate school and relationships, and the birth of his son. We will witness his early thirties and the beginnings of a very promising career in physics at the same time that he must deal with a very precocious young son. He also struggles with a very tenuous relationship with his wife, or is she just his girlfriend and the mother of his child, or is he living with a boyfriend instead? His late thirties and early forties are even more tumultuous, as the true genius of his teenage son becomes increasingly apparent, and as his own research becomes more and more critical to the survival of America, and the world. The story culminates as he approaches and reaches the age of 50, in 2016, or is that when the story actually begins?
The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of
David of Hope and Anthony Camacho in editing this story, as well as the support of Awesome Dude for hosting it.
This story is purely fictional and any resemblance of characters to real individuals other than named historical figures is purely coincidental and unintentional. Some characters may be gay and at times engage in homosexual acts. Because the story explores characters at various stages of their lives, they may be underage during early sexual explorations. Obviously, anyone uncomfortable with this should not be reading the story, and the reader assumes responsibility for the legality of reading this type of story where they live. The author retains full copyright, and permission must be obtained prior to duplication of the story in any form.