Quotes From "Version Control" By Dexter Palmer

The thing about memories wasn't that many of them inevitably...
The thing about memories wasn't that many of them inevitably faded, but that repeated recall of the ones you remembered burnished them into shining, gorgeous lies Dexter Palmer
But I cannot accept a vision of You as an engineer who spends His days maintaining the machine of morality. I cannot take the idea of You as an optimizer, introducing evil into human affairs in an attempt to create the best of all possible worlds. I cannot bear this cold mathematician's God who sees all the universe as nothing more than an elaborate problem to be solved. Such a world is a world with no meaning, one in which one history is no more or less preferable to any other. . Dexter Palmer
First, the idea of the multiverse is essentially the fantasy of preserving perfect information. One of the hard things to deal with in life is the fact that you destroy potential information whenever you make a decision. You could even say that's essentially what regret is: a profound problem of incomplete information. If you select one thing on a diner's menu, you can't know what it would have been like to taste other things on it, right then, right there. When you marry one person, you give up the possibility of knowing what it would have been like to have married any number of others. But if the multiverse exists, you can at least imagine there's another version of you who's eating that other thing you thought about ordering, or who's married to that other man you only went on two dates with. Even if you'll never see all the information for yourself, at least you'll be able to tell yourself that it's. Dexter Palmer
There was a graduate student in my cohort, this guy I dated, who told me he came to realize that doing physics is like this: there's a concrete wall twenty feet thick, and you're on one side, and on the other side is everything worth knowing. And all you have is a spoon. So you just have to take a spoon and start scraping at the wall: no other way. He works in a bookstore now. But I think of it this way. There is a jigsaw puzzle. It's infinitely large, with no edges or corners to help you out. We have to put it together: it's our duty. We will never finish, but we have to find our satisfactions where we can: when we place two pieces together that suggest we may have found the place where the sky touches the sea, or when we discover a piece that is beautiful in and of itself, that has an unusual color or a glimpse of an unexpected pattern. And the pieces that do not join together also tell you something. If there are very few eureka moments, then at least there are a thousand little failures, that point the way toward a hundred little joys. Dexter Palmer
The scientific method entails two assumptions that are so basic that, even if you spell them out, they are still difficult to keep in mind. First: that the observer stays the same while the world changes. Second: that cause precedes effect. But the very nature of the experiment we are conducting means that the second of these assumptions is thrown into doubt. We are deliberately attempting to engineer an event in which effect chronologically precedes cause. If one of these assumptions is under threat, why not the other? . Dexter Palmer
As he drifted off, his father came to visit him,...
As he drifted off, his father came to visit him, clothed in all his possible shapes. Dexter Palmer
And so Rebecca consigned herself to, not ignorance, but a judicious incuriosity: she decided, for the time being, to live with the constant, cryptic reminders that the scope of another person's soul could never be fully surveyed. Dexter Palmer
But I can tell you this: that I am deeply proud of Rebecca. That she made a split-second decision to save the life of her son, turning the wheel of her vehicle so that her side of it would be impacted by an oncoming car instead of his. She gave her life in the exercise of the greatest gift that God grants us–the ability to change the trajectory of history. Dexter Palmer
Isn’t that the fantasy? If I go back in time, knowing what people back then didn’t know, then I can change history! But history made you what you are. And it’s bigger than any one man. Dexter Palmer
To agree to a marriage is to consent to a mutual act of transformation, to promise to ensure that the versions of yourselves that you will become will remain in harmony, though you yourselves can never stay the same. Dexter Palmer
This is the last moment of contentment untainted by sorrow, when the brain hesitates before delivering the message to the heart that it knows it must. Dexter Palmer
She drank the glass with breakfast and poured herself another. By the time she'd gotten Sean off to school (second grade) the edges had been taken off her thoughts and the world seemed as it should be: not too real, but real enough. Dexter Palmer
But life isn't neat the way a story is. And if you try to pretend it is, then you just make yourself unhappy, or screw yourself over. Dexter Palmer
I like Carson. I really like Carson. I can hand an idea to him that's still a little rough, and he can turn it over and tumble it and hand it back to me shining. And I can do the same for him. Dexter Palmer
And all of these involved remembering that someone existed whom you hadn’t thought of in a while, an ability that had atrophied in the minds of people who could not remember a time without social networking, just as people near the end of the twentieth century had lost the ability to remember the long and semi-random strings of digits that made up phone numbers once cellphones began to do that for them. Dexter Palmer
That's one of our speculations, by the way. That the prior version of history that this one overwrote was horrible. Complete geopolitical mayhem; half of New York City is underwater. The United States is headed toward civil war, or ruled by an artificial-intelligence construct, or some such other thing. Real end-of-days stuff. That the instances of ourselves who existed in that history figured out what we have: that the invention of the causality violation device was the cause. That in that prior version of history, Rebecca did not die in a car accident. That she went back to the past on a mission, as a volunteer, well aware of her sacrifice. Dexter Palmer
And as Sean climbs into bed and closes his eyes, Mother comes, riding astride a lion the size of a house, blowing a clarion from a horn made out of a hollowed-out elephant's tusk. Her eyes have a faint crimson glow from the lasers that are mounted behind her irises, ready to fire at will.' I touched a prince's chest today and made his heart stop, ' she says. 'I'll do it again if I have to: they'll see what happens if anyone gets in my way. Good night, my son. Remember that I will always keep you safe; that I am always everywhere and always here.'' Good night, Mom, ' Sean says, and falls asleep. And Mother recedes, wise and beautiful and strong, a genius and a hero, a punisher of thieves and a slayer of wicked men, to watch over her son in all her different versions. Dexter Palmer
And yet Rebecca felt that it was hard to tell whether the secret algorithms of Big Data did not so much reveal you to yourself as they tried to dictate to you what you were to be. To accept that the machines knew you better than you knew yourself involved a kind of silent assent: you liked the things Big Data told you you were likely to like, and you loved the people it said you were likely to love. To believe entirely in the data entailed a slight diminishment of the self, small but crucial and, perhaps, irreversible. Dexter Palmer
He felt that race was not a characteristic that was a part of his identity, but one that was projected upon him by the gaze of others who looked on him; as such it was ephemeral, there and gone as soon as the gaze was broken. Dexter Palmer
Rebecca approached the causality violation chamber (too grand a name for such a faulty thing), placed her hand against its door, and closed her eyes, much as Philip had during its christening years ago. There was no response from the machine; no prophecy; no apology; no advice. It did not relay the news from other, brighter timelines. It did not tell her what would have transpired had she returned from yesterday's shopping trip a few hours later, or had she turned the steering wheel left instead of right two years ago, or had she not taken that first drink, or had she turned down any one of the thousands of drinks that had followed, or had she chosen not to respond to Philip's insistent and perhaps deliberately oblivious messages during the early days of their online courtship, or had her parents or her grandparents, or her great-grandparents never met. The machine's obstinate silence was all it had to offer; the message of that silence was that she had made her choices in life, and her choices had made her in return. Dexter Palmer