It is tough being a superhero combating global climate change and saving humanity from possible extinction!
“Forever Is A Long Time” is a science fiction indie comic illustrated by Zac Finger, in collaboration with the original short story © June 2008 by Michael Blade.
Synopsis: A bewildered science fiction author (me) is offered a chance at immortality from a time traveling historian of the future.
Special thanks to Zac Finger and his creation of the comic based on my short story
It is only entropy, which says time must flow forward, and not backwards. The present can determine the past. Could future possibilities influence the now? If entropy was carefully controlled?
H.G Wells published “The Time Machine” back in 1895, before the turn of the twenty century. The Eloi and Morlocks of his future where two extremes of humanity. Representations of both a utopia and dystopia co-existing in the same and single plane of reality.
A burger joint conversation off the highway to Las Vegas
“You mind sharing this booth?” asks Marcus.
John replies, “Sure, no problem since all the others are crowded.”
John sets his tray down and says, “Hi, my name is John Truman.”
Marcus reaches out to shake his hand and says, “Nice to meet you John, Marcus Sherman.”
They both begin to eat, remaining silent for a while… Noise from the other restaurant patrons washes over them.
John asks, “So, if I were to guess, I’d have to say you looked like a movie director.”
Marcus says, “No, you wouldn’t believe me, but let’s talk about you instead. What do you do?”
John answers, “I’m a writer. Now be fair, what do you do?”
Marcus says, “Alright, I am a time traveling historian from two-hundred years in your future, from all your possible futures.”
John laughs and says, “Okay, I’ll play… I’m probably about the only person in the world who would take you seriously. I’m a science fiction writer.”
Marcus says seriously, “I know, that’s why we contacted you. The others, the hard scientists of your time won’t listen to us. As for the psychiatrists, and psychologists, most definitely not. They’re too into their pills, and psychoanalysis in this time frame.”
John asks, “Well you’ll still have to convince me. So, if you’re telling me the truth… Where is your time machine? Can I see it?”
Marcus answers, “Yes you can, but it’s not what you expect. Its right inside here,” He points to his temple with his index finger.
John says, “Oh, I see… one of those.” Indicating the guy is crazy, with his facial expression.
Marcus replies, “Yes, you can assume I’m crazy. But, I’m just communicating to you through this man’s body. For a short period of time, I can do this, without his knowing it. When I leave and his consciousness re-awakens, this memory will seem like a daydream to him.”
John says sarcastically, “Okay… I see. I’ll play only a little longer. How can you do this? I know a little science, convince me.”
Marcus explains, “Well you see inside this brain, your brain, all of our brains we can receive information from the quantum foam. It allows you to be conscious. You see your mind is thinking across all parallel universes, all variations of yourself within the metaverse-multiverse.”
John interrupts, replying, “So let me guess, this is the quantum mind theory, you’re going to tell me that you’re receiving quantum entangled information from potential futures. And that’s how you’re able to talk to me now.”
Marcus smiles and says, “Yes. I knew you would understand. You don’t have to pull the lever on a physical time machine to travel. Really anyone can do it. The capability is there inside your own mind. That’s really what is meant by precognition, you just have to be open to all possibilities, believe you can, and the information flows through, allowing you to select a potential future.
It’s really that simple, but hard for people in your time to do. We do it in the future with the global mind, but there is nothing that limits the power of a single mind from doing it as well.
Unfortunately, in this time, your minds are more confining. Your understanding of physics and what’s possible, is still self-limiting. That’s why we had to contact you directly. You see John, thoughts can become reality, even thoughts from my…your futures.”
John smiles, and replies “You said we? Are more of you in our time?”
Marcus says, “There are twenty seven of us here in your time. Here to try and influence things.”
John asks, “Twenty seven of you? Influence what? 6.7 billion people? The future? If what you’re telling me is true it’s already set for you, I’m not really getting it.”
Marcus says, “It’s hard to use your time’s words. You see time is like a tree, with branches growing into the future, where two branches separate, a decision was made, or Einstein’s might call it an observation. It’s deterministic in this reality, but free will exists across all the parallel bubble universes, in theory.
One possible set of futures branches one way. Another possible set grows out of the other branch. Thirteen of the future time travelers are from one of these branches, and thirteen from the other.”
John asks, “So that’s only twenty-six?”
Marcus answers, “I’m the twenty-seventh, the neutral one. Variations of myself exist in all twenty-six future branches. That’s really rare, and that’s why I’m allowed to speak to you. To help you understand. You see, those that are still basically human in the future have great compassion, they want to help reduce the suffering.”
John says, “Okay, so prove it. I’ll bet you can’t! I won’t believe you until you prove it to me.”
Marcus says, “I can, but it will probably upset you badly…”
John says, “Go ahead. Give me a try.”
Marcus says, “Okay, you asked for it. But I’m only allowed to do this once.”
Just then 26 people in the burger joint, babies, children, adults and all, stop talking, playing and crying, turned and look at John and Marcus.
Then they all said in unison, “Yes, it is true John.”
Then they all turned and went back to what ever they were doing, as if nothing had happened.
There is a long pause from John as he looks at Marcus incredibly, more serious now, with a little fear in his eyes.
“What just happened? Was that real?” asked John, shaken and doubting what he saw.
“You’re having trouble accepting reality, because it is inconsistent with your present beliefs. So therefore you doubt what just happened. Having no easy way of reconciling it,” explained Marcus.
“No, you must have drugged me… or maybe this is a big hoax. These people work for you,” said John, grasping for an explanation.
“Of course that’s possible, but if you really choose to believe those explanations so that you can retain your hold on sanity, then I suggest we end this conversation now, at least for your sake.” says Marcus.
“No. No, I can go on… give me a moment.” explained John, centering himself with a deep breath.
“I know, it’s hard to believe. That’s why I’m here to explain John,” consoled Marcus.
John asks, “Suppose I believe you. Why are you doing this? Telling me?”
Marcus explains, “A bifurcation event is approaching, a catastrophic event with branching of many possibilities, that will change everything afterward.”
John asks, “What is this event?”
Marcus says, “I’m sorry to say I can’t tell you what the event is, but I can tell it is proceeded by all of the Internet going down in February of 2012. There are a hundred different scenarios, and none of them are really good John.”
John asks, “Is there any way to prevent it from happening?”
“Maybe, but then you would vanish from existence, or at least I would, they’re essentially the same thing,” explained Marcus.
“So what can I do?” Asks John.
“You just need to keep your mind open to all possibilities, try to be as non-deterministic as possible,” said Marcus.
The amazing thing was that I knew he was right, but I couldn’t accept it, and found every excuse to lose touch with Marcus, even purposefully loosing his number, John thought.
Anything to forget that the late February 2012 date was coming. Besides, I didn’t believe him anyway, he was just some harmless crazy I shared a booth with at a burger joint, he probably slipped some acid or something into my drink.
The End of the Worlds
The Internet does go down as Marcus predicted.
John is really worried now.
Doing what the man from the future suggested, he opens his mind to all possibilities. Then John puts his hands to his head, and his surroundings and reality transforms itself.
He finds himself in the aftermath of a nuclear war. Mushroom clouds have bloomed across the earth. All the cities are in ruins, the skies darken with wind-blown radiation; the surviving people burnt, blinded, crying for help, poisoned with radiation sickness.
Ultimately death looms for all, but could someone have survived here? Is this a possible future? One John doesn’t want to live it.
When John has seen enough, looking upon the world in despair, his surroundings immediately transform…
In this reality it’s a deadly virus, natural or engineered, it’s hard to tell from the last news posts. There are dead decaying human bodies, pets, and animals lying on the ground everywhere. The smell is horrible.
The cities are undamaged, and many services still run (electricity, neon lights, display panels, showing broadcast test patterns, moving escalators, etc.), but there is no one alive except John to really notice.
His surroundings transform once again…
In this reality global warming was never stopped, John notices a totally polluted and collapsed ecosystem; a dessert earth of dry bones, searing hot heat, abandon cities, and wild fierce storms, no signs of human life. Then in the distance, too far for him to reach in time, he sees a bio-habitat, an enclosed oasis.
John looks up into the sun, and collapses from exhaustion on the cracked dry ground, everything goes white as he looses consciousness…
John wakes up in a peaceful garden setting, on a park bench. Looking around, he sees green grass, and trees, buzzing bees, fluttering butterflies, running water fountains, humming birds, and playing squirrels, there even were a few people around, but dressed very differently somehow.
He is very confused, however certainly more happy with this reality. Then he sees someone approaching…
It’s the time traveler, but now dressed in strange patterned gray clothes.
“Hello John,” he says smiling friendly, “I’m so glad you made it.”
“Marcus, where am I? What just happened?” asked John.
“You’re here, in your future, now. You passed through the alternate realities to this one,” explained Marcus.
“All the others were so horrible, hells on earth,” said John distraught.
Marcus said reassuringly, “That’s over now. You’ll never have to experience those potential realities again John. You just had to go through them only once to get here. It’s time for me to explain things. I will answer all your questions. You definitely deserve it. You see John, this is a ‘Virtuality’.”
“Virtuality, you mean like as in Virtual Reality?” asked John.
“Yes, using your terminology, that would be an approximation. I didn’t and won’t lie to you John, I am a time traveler in a sense, and a historian, but your time, the time you were born into, is not real, not completely using your some what limited definition of reality.
It’s a backward-time-simulation, running on what you would call the Internet, but in our time is so much more, including a significant part of our global mind.
The Earth thinks now John, and we are part of it. In our virtuality, everything and anything can be and has been. There is no such thing as death, you see, you never really die,” explained Marcus.
“But, that would mean I am a simulation…that I’m not real, just a program running inside a computer,” grasped John.
“Real, that word as you use it is ‘really’ so limiting. You seem real enough to me, we’re having a real conversation, aren’t we?” Marcus asked.
“But why?” asked John, as they walked along the parkway garden path together.
Marcus explained, “Because so many died John, over 6 billion lives were lost. Our science can bring them all back now, like we brought you back. Here and now we all live forever, healthy, in whatever reality we so choose.
We used all the digital information we had on you, the satellite movements, the digital photos and videos. Our ‘computers’, using your ancient term, are able to simulate quantum events back all the way to your time, using precise measurements captured along the way. The rest we let you determine naturally.”
“But, I’m an approximation, not the original John.” He said.
“By combining information from the other parallel realities, the differences become so small, we can not distinguishing them ourselves, so for all intents and purposes you are John Trueman, the long lost science fiction writer, the man I convinced I was a time traveler,” explained Marcus.
“So what do you want me to do now?” John asked.
“Well, you could become a literal god, you can do whatever you want, or you can help me bring back a few others.” says Marcus.
“I’m not smart enough to be a god, that’s for sure. But I could help you with the others. Sure, why not?” said John.
“You’ll have to get use to time traveling, and materializing, reality-altering . . .” said Marcus.
“Okay, I’m ready, let’s go” says John.
As they walk along the path they both vanish, traveling back in simulated time.
Michael McAnally, is a Founder, Futurist, Entrepreneur and Science Fiction Blogger who goes by the pen name Michael Blade. He has deep professional knowledge in computer science and currently lives in San Francisco as CEO-Dev of Touch Voice and has apps in all the major app stores which help thousands of speech impaired individuals and are used in hospitals and care facilities around the globe.