A Torus of Timelines

In W1. Leo Climbs we watch Leo, the drug smuggler with a swastika tattoo, climb the main island of Sheridan to steal centipedes. On his way he relates to a bird, then betrays it. He’s not exactly a nice guy.

I don’t have anything in particular to discuss this section, so I thought I’d explain what I mean when characters in Akayama DanJay talk about time as a torus. I can’t explain too thoroughly, though, because one reason I describe time as a torus is to inject plausible deniability into my time-travel. I can’t be inconsistent if no one knows how it’s supposed to work!

In the “real” reality Akayama says time is linear. To produce the eternities, the two sub-realities in which Earth’s population is reconstructed, she “[wraps time] in a circle and [revolves] it” to make a hollow donut of time, Lucille’s Wheel. Wikipedia has a nice photo:

We can see the torus is made by taking the red circle and revolving it along the purple circle. If the direction of the red circle represents Earthly time, time in the realm of Sheridan, then the direction of the purple circle represents Heavenly time, time in the desert of the Hurricane Planet. That’s why dead characters tend to disobey our Earthly notion of time; the afterlife moves perpendicularly to us.

When Dan dies, his life-force ceases following the red circle and follows the purple circle. When he’s kicked out of reality, he’s booted into the interior of the Wheel. Then he returns to circling the ‘handle’ of the donut as Jay.


Faith’s path is more complicated. She lives on Earth, in the red circle, until she dies and follows the purple circle. Then she’s ushered into the Mountain, into the torus’ interior. From there she can appear anywhere in time and space, which she demonstrates by visiting Virgil Jango Skyy as a fox around the time of her own birth. As she wraps Beatrice’s wing around the Wheel, she’s securing the torus. She meets Anihilato, then visits the red circle to see Jay and returns to the afterlife satisfied. Eventually she meets Dan and takes him to Anihilato.


Finally, Nemo sees the torus in its entirety. He was born before the Wheel. He’s immortal, so his earthly life spans the whole red circle. Akayama tells him that when he dies he will enter the afterlife in one contiguous piece instead of decomposing into worms, so his life spans the whole purple circle, as well. Along the way Nemo absorbs other souls from the circular cross-sections beside him.


Anyway, that’s my rationale for the aggressively non-linear structure of my story.

But time’s not the only dimension. If the Earthly reality and the desert of the afterlife both have three spatial dimensions plus time, then there are eight dimensions total. An eight-dimensional hyperdonut is complicated enough to let me hand-wave concerns for sensibility. I can pretend my story makes sense, and dismiss worries about the authenticity of my time-traveling fox, by reminding readers we’re in the weaponry of a giant anime space-robot fight. I think that concept’s cool enough to grant me some leeway.

Keep eating your worms.

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