Robert Heinlein's Bootstraps
Boot pulls.jpg


Robert Heinlein


Boot Pulls


Self-fulfilling closed timelike curve


Events cannot be altered from inside the time continuum



Collected by

Warehouse 13







Date of Collection

May 15, 2015


Physics Explanation[edit | edit source]

In many a science fiction and fact, time travel opens up a slew of paradoxes. One of the most prevalent in discussion is the causal loop, where future events, people or information are transported to the past and cause their very own existence.

A proposed solution to this temporal witchcraft without breaking causality is the closed timelike curve (CTC). Current general relativity states a theoretical light cone holds every possible permutation of future events. Mathematicians use a flash of light as the zero point and the rest of events stem from it. Written on graphs as a sideways letter V, every combination of physical and temporal location should exist within the cone. Setting up multiple cones sharing points forwards and backwards in history would allow an object to return to earlier spacetime coordinates even if they have already occurred.

By His Bootstraps[edit | edit source]

Robert Heinlein is regarded as a master of the hard sci-fi form for injecting serious scientific scrutiny into all the worlds he created. Published in 1941 under a pen name, By His Bootstraps follows the journey of Bob Wilson through the complexities of time travel. Several strangers attempt to force and prevent him from entering a time gate programmed to millennium in the future. He meets another traveler who convinces Bob to return to his present as a scout then become a king in their present.

On account of his own muddled mindset, Bob finds out he was in fact every time traveler he interacted with. Whatever done to change the story’s ending only guaranteed it happen the way it always did and would.

Effects[edit | edit source]

Creates a closed timelike curve centered around the wearer and any articles associated with them (information, personal effects). By the looping properties of a CTC, different versions of the same object can co-exist in the same location without collapsing any physical laws.

Whatever events occur involve interaction with an older self, trying to rectify past mistakes normally. Results in the younger version being displaced in time and space, often with incomplete memories of the prior events. The user will try to stop whatever happened to them in the first place but instead cause the accident to occur.

Once set in motion, the loop appears infinite to the subject. Even the knowledge of events is unable to break them free from the cycle. Only involving an outsider to their life will the remove the limitations. Whichever version of the user or object is present during the split will continue forwards through time at a linear rate. All experiences or aging persists with the survivor.

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