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Thrice Upon a Time
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Summary

     Three hundred pages of reading about people pressing buttons and recording what lamps do would make tedious reading. Having figured out what the rules were, I built around them the kind of character and problem situations that make up a novel. They involve a swarm of microscopic black holes orbiting through the solid matter of the Earth, a lethal virus released by a meteor impact on an orbiting isolation lab, and a pair of lovers finding each other through highly improbably circumstances on one time-line, only to lose each other again when it reconstructs into something else. Outwardly, the kinds of thing that readers can care about and relate to. But beneath the camouflage, the underlying mechanics follows the same rules that apply to the buttons and lamps.

     Murdoch Ross, a young American physicist of Scottish descent, and his close friend and business partner, Lee Walker, travel to Scotland in response to a call from Murdoch's grandfather, Charles. In his private laboratory housed in a Scottish castle, Charles has concluded a line of investigation that he commenced during many years of fruitful scientific research in the U.S. by successfully sending information back through time. The arrivals are incredulous, but a few simple demonstrations show them that some of the most cherished precepts of scientific thought have been demolished. They join Charles and a close group of friends in conducting a rigorous series of experiments to try to determine the bizarre logic that underlies the possibility of sending messages backward to change the causes of events that have already happened. In the course of this, Murdoch meets and falls in love with Anne Patterson, a trainee doctor at the nearby, gigantic, Burghead heavy ion fusion plant constructed by a European Consortium and about to commence live testing.

     Disaster strikes when unforeseen consequences of taking the high-energy reactions at Burghead into a new realm of energy density turns out to have consequences that could end the future of the entire planet. While officials and government scientists debate and express skepticism toward the new physics that results in these conclusion, Murdoch discovers that conditions are deteriorating even faster than was anticipated, and only immediate, unauthorized use of Charles's machine to warn the past can offer any hope of averting catastrophe. He and Anne alone must make the decision. But in acting on it, they know they risk changing the unforeseen of history into a new one in which they might never even meet.

 
Content © The Estate of James P. Hogan, 1998-2014. All rights reserved.

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