November 14

Engineers at Sophist College's Chronosynclastic Institute have just succeeded in building a time machine. They haven't tested it yet, and they aren't really sure how it works. It might move the whole world forward or backward, or it may transport only its contents.

They call it the `Infundibula,' and the honor of its first voyage has been awarded to Tom and Jim for the purpose of testing a number of logical, mathematical, and philosophical principles.

First of all, there is the question of causation. The principle of causality states that if an event of type A causes and event of type B, then a type A event will always cause a type B event. The principle of causal determinism states that everything has a cause. Together, these imply that time is a line that doesn't branch, that is, from each present only one future can follow. Tom and Jim want to know if this principle is correct.

Another question concerns the flow of time. Does it have a direction--does it always go forward? Most physical laws are bidirectional--they work the same whether time goes forward or backward. Can time ever be reversed? What would that mean? Would we notice?

In addition to these questions, there are others concerning free will, the law of the excluded middle, and counterfactual conditionals, as well as various problems about the paradoxes of time travel that have attracted science fiction authors.

The machine is striking in appearance. It looks remarkably like a 1976 Volare station wagon, with pillars instead of wheels. The controls are on the dashboard. It can be set for the past or the future, and a dial indicates the time jump in years, month, days, and minutes. There is an AM-FM radio.

You are going to accompany Tom and Jim on their adventures! Occasionally you will have to make decisions for them. Their first adventure begins now. To find out what happens, click here.