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Time TravelThe Popular Philosophy of Narrative$
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David Wittenberg

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823249961

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823249961.001.0001

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“The Big Time”: Multiple Worlds, Narrative Viewpoint, and Superspace

“The Big Time”: Multiple Worlds, Narrative Viewpoint, and Superspace

(p.91) Three “The Big Time”: Multiple Worlds, Narrative Viewpoint, and Superspace
Time Travel

David Wittenberg

Fordham University Press

Chapter 3 begins by borrowing and adapting a methodological principle from Einstein's theory of special relativity, that all (narrative) viewpoints should be described in rigorously physical terms. Pursuing such a “physics of narrative” through a variety of textual examples—Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Jack Williamson's pulp novel Legion of Time, Fritz Leiber's In the Big Time, Rudy Rucker's Master of Space and Time, and even Einstein's own correspondence with Erwin Schrödinger about the famous “cat in the box” example—the chapter shows how time travel fictions can be read as depicting the fundamental scenography of storytelling itself. In essence, time travel stories are literal representations of the superspace or “hyperspacetime” required to comprehend any narrative progression through space and time, and therefore already constitute a complex narrative theory in situ.

Keywords:   Albert Einstein, Jack Williamson, Hugh Everett III, quantum theory, relativity, viewpoint, multiverse, narrative theory, world lines

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