Download Baxter, Stephen - The Light of Other Days PDF

TitleBaxter, Stephen - The Light of Other Days
LanguageEnglish
File Size1.1 MB
Total Pages347
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Page 2

Is it not possible — I often wonder
— that things we have felt with great
intensity have an experience
independent of our minds; are in fact
still in existence? And if so, will it not
be possible, in time, that some
device will be invented by which we
can tap them? …Instead of
remembering here a scene and
there a sound, I shall fit a plug into
the wall; and listen in to the past…

Page 174

command and control facilities, on bunkers concealing troops and tanks, on
hydroelectric plants and natural gas pipelines, and on targets in the cities, such as
Samarkand, Andizhan, Namangan and the capital Tashkent.

The precision was unprecedented — and, for the first time in such operations,
success could be verified.

Of course, for now, the Allied troops had the upper hand in WormCam
deployment. But future wars would have to be fought under the assumption that
both sides had perfect and up-to-date information on the strategy, resources and
deployment of the other. Heather supposed it was too much to hope that such a
change in the nature of war might lead to its cessation altogether. But at least it
was giving the warriors pause for thought, and might lead to less meaningless
waste.

Anyhow war — Anna's war, the cold battle of information and technology
— was the war which the American public had witnessed, partly thanks to the
WormCam viewpoint Heather herself had operated, flying alongside Petersen's
shapely shoulder as she moved from one clinical, bloodless scenario to another.

But there had been rumours — mostly circulating in the corners of the Internet
that still remained uncontrolled — of another, more primitive war proceeding on
the ground, as troops went in to secure the gains made by the air strikes.

Then a report had been released by an English news channel of a prison camp in
the field, where UN captives, including Americans, were being held by the
Uzbeks. There were also rumours that female prisoners, including Allied troops,
had been taken to rape camps and forced brothels, deeper in the countryside.

Revealing all of this clearly served the purposes of the governments behind the
anti-Uzbek alliance. The Juarez Administration's spin doctors weren't above
highlighting the distressing idea of wholesome Anna from Iowa in the hands of
swarthy Uzbek molesters.

To Heather this was evidence of a dirty, ground-level conflict far removed from
the clean video game in which Anna Petersen had colluded. Heather's hackles
had risen at the idea that she might be playing a part in some vast propaganda
machine. But when she sought permission from her employer, Earth News
Online, to seek out the truth of the war, she was refused; access to the corporate
WormCam facility would be withdrawn if she attempted it.

Page 346

Afterword

The concept of a "time viewer," though venerable, has been explored only
sparingly in science fiction — perhaps because it is so much less dramatic than
time travel. But there have been a number of remarkable works on the theme,
ranging from Gardner Hunting's (1926) to Orson Scott Card's

(1996). One of us has
briefly sketched its implications in previous works ( 1953, "The
Parasite," 1953). Perhaps the best-known and best-example is Bob Shaw's "slow
glass" classic which shares our title ( August 1966).

Today the notion has the first glimmers of scientific plausibility, offered by
modern physics — and a resonance with our own times, surrounded as we are
increasingly by the apparatus of surveillance.

The concept of spacetime wormholes is well described in Kip Thorne's
(W. W. Norton, 1994).

The proposal that wormholes might be generated by "squeezing the vacuum"
was set out by David Hochberg and Thomas Kephart ( vol.
268, pp. 377-383, 1991).

The very speculative and, we hope, respectful reconstruction of the historical life
of Jesus Christ is largely drawn from A. N. Wilson's fine biography Jesus
(Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992). For assistance with the passages on Abraham
Lincoln the authors are indebted to Warren Allen Smith, New York
correspondent of (UK).

The idea that primitive Earth was afflicted by savage glacial episodes has been
proposed by Paul Hoffman of Harvard University and his coworkers (see

vol. 281, p. 1342, 28 August 1998). And the notion that primitive life
might have survived Earth's early bombardment by sheltering deep underground
is explored, for example, in Paul Davies' (Penguin, 1998).

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