"Each of us is a certain spacetime pattern in the block universe. Today, or the day of my birth, or the day of my death -- all are equally real, all are different pieces of the block universe. I will never stop living this instant. This instant will never cease to exist; this instant has always existed."


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The Fourth Dimension -- A Guided Tour of the Higher Universes, by Rudy Rucker. Illustrations by David Povilaitis. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1985.

Add another dimension to your life 

  What will you make of the idea of a fixed, "block universe," where time is nothing more than an illusion? I'll tell you something... when Rudy Rucker explains it... it makes sense to me. Here is a book that puts a new spin on existence.  I can't begin to do justice to this book; there's no other quite like it. I can only recommend it without hesitation. It's one of the best things I've ever read. Rucker is a brilliant logician and a clever, engaging writer.
  OK. Let's back up.
  According to Wells... according to The Time Traveler... the fourth dimension is time.
  According to Rudy Rucker, "... this is, in a sense, true."
  But in Rucker's endlessly fascinating, funny, quirky, thought-provoking book, the fourth dimension is considered... as a fourth dimension of space.
"It is very hard to visualize such a dimension directly," says Rucker. "Off and on for some fifteen years, I have tried to do so. In all this time, I've enjoyed a grand total of perhaps fifteen minutes' worth of direct vision into four-dimensional space. Nevertheless, I feel that I understand the fourth dimension very well. How can this be? How can we talk productively about something that is almost impossible to visualize?

"The key idea is to reason by analogy. The fourth dimension is to three-dimensional space as the third dimension is to two-dimensional space. 4-D : 3-D :: 3-D :2-D. This particular analogy is one of the oldest head tricks known to man. Plato was the first to present it, in his famous allegory of the cave.

"Here Plato asks us to imagine a race of men who are chained up in an underground den, chained in such a way that all they can ever look at is shadows on their cave's wall. Behind the men is a low ramp, and behind that a fire. The prisoners think that these shadows are the only reality... They do not even realize that they have three-dimensional bodies. They talk to each other, but hearing the echoes bounce off the wall, they assume that they and their fellows are also shadows.

"There are several interesting features in Plato's allegory. It is particularly striking that the prisoners actually think that they are their own shadows. This is interesting because it suggests the idea that a person is really some higher-dimensional soul that influences and watches this "shadow world" of three-dimensional objects."


At the time Wells wrote "The Time Machine," this "spatial" interpretation of the fourth dimension -- "another [physical] direction at right angles to the first three" was much in vogue among clerics, spiritualists, and even the average person on the street. The Time Traveller dismisses the notion of a fourth dimension of space, but Rucker's lively "tour" of the higher dimensions shows -- whether you consider it an intellectual, mathematical, or even spiritual exercise -- it's a fascinating topic. And, of course, time travel figures into the mix.
  This book goes on the list of 'must-reads.' It's a book to savor; a book that deserves to be read and re-read. My favorite non-fiction book.

It probably doesn't really belong on the non-fiction page, but...
From (submitted by Alfred P. Arruda, a long-time friend of this site) July 2, 2002  
Father Ernetti's Chronovisor : The Creation and Disappearance of the World's First Time Machine  
Another conspiracy theory has emerged, with the Vatican as the villain. It seems that the Holy See has a time machine, which it will not share with the world. Wireless Flash, a popular culture news service, reported on a recently published book from New Paradigm Books, a New Age publisher. Father Ernetti's Chronovisor: The Creation and Disappearance of The World's First Time Machine, by paranormal journalist Peter Krassa, tells the story of Benedictine Father Pellegrino Ernetti. The priest claimed he constructed a time machine in the 1950s and used it to witness historic events and rescue lost manuscripts. According to the publisher, Father Ernetti "was a priest and scientist and musicologist, one of the world's leading authorities on archaic music. He claimed to have yoked the insights of modern physics to the ancient occult knowledge of the astral planes to build, in secret, a time machine �the chronovisor. He asserted that, using the chronovisor as his eyes and ears, he had watched Christ dying on the cross and attended a performance of a now-lost tragedy, Thyestes, by the father of Latin poetry, Quintus Ennius, in Rome in 169 B.C." So far, the Holy See has not responded to the reports. ..


Other Non-Fiction Time Travel Books:

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Don Brockway, March 2, 2000 (updated October 12, 2004)