Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Atemporality in Fiction

Okay the more I think about the more the fan wank of The Dresden Files' Mab being an aspect of an atemporal being split between 9 different characters ...that we know of the more I like it.

But I will also fully admit it's my fan wank. I don't expect Jim Butcher to go in that direction.

The reason why the idea fascinates me is because I feel it's rare for media to deal with the concept of atemporality. Narrative is based on causality, and to divorce narrative from causality would be HARD.

Think about it. The most common attempts are time travel stories, but even in those the protagonists always seem to move through a linear progression of events. They might be in the same place more than once but they seldom experience the exact same moment more than once.

Think about it due to the mutability of the future and their own actions these moments are never portrayed as the exact same moment playing out the exact same way.

But more than that time is more than the past it's also the future. An atemporal character would need to be able to reconcile their past and present selves with all potential future versions of themselves some of whom could be wildly different. And what if the character was absolutely atemporal, literally being all they was, are and potentially will be simultaneously.  What would that look like?

I like to think it would look like the Trinity (that's it's as close as it ever made sense to me anyway) . A being with multiple version of itself all existing at the same time. The reason why Jim Butcher's Winter Queens stuck out to me for it is because it is cannon that they are The Moirai, Mab (two of the hot damn), Aurora, Titania, Hecate, the Norns, and probably those witches that made Macbeth go nuts.

And while classical mythology is as hokey a religion as you'll find they always made more sense to me as a logical trinity than the christian version.  What the hell is a holy ghost?

I can understand the concepts of past,  present and future.

Though I can't understand how those three would manage to have a conversation with each other. The only way I can think to portray a being who can experience exact moments of their lives more than once is to portray them or it or whatever as multiple characters. Even then how do you portray the uncertainty of the future? By portraying multiple potential future versions of the same character, maybe.

But delving deeper even that creates a problem. Present me is not the same man as past me and I certainly hope I will have evolved a bit in the future. How would one's present self affect and change their interactions with the future versions. How would it work in reverse. How would the interactions future incarnations be able to shape and influence past and present versions.

In a weird way it just makes sense to me that having 9 versions of one character  running around in different bodies would be the most practical way of doing it if someone managed it.

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