Study Guide

Timescape Chapter 11

By Gregory Benford

Chapter 11

  • Peterson flies into San Diego. A diatom bloom is visible out the window, blood-red and dangerous.
  • When he lands, he is driven by limo to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, where he meets Alex Kiefer.
  • Peterson informs Kiefer about the situation in South America, and Kiefer shares his research on the diatom and their chlorinated hydrocarbon origins.
  • Kiefer notes that one of his lab types has a hypothesis on a way things can alter themselves; he says he'll keep Peterson in the loop if it works.
  • Peterson heads to the San Diego First Federal Savings. The bank manager opens a safety deposit box in Peterson's name—the fees were arranged decades previously.
  • Inside, Peterson finds a paper that reads, "MESSAGE RECEIVED LA JOLLA."
  • He goes to Kiefer's house for dinner that night. Although he hates Kiefer's kids, Peterson becomes infatuated with Kiefer's wife, Mitsuoko, and he instantly begins formulating a way to seduce her from under her husband's nose.
  • When Kiefer goes to check on the kids, Mitsuoko makes the first move, letting Peterson know when she'll be walking the beach later that evening—alone.
  • On the flight home, Peterson browses files from Caltech. Inside is a letter from a physicist named Cathy.
  • The physicist is writing about the possibilities of universes within universes. She notes that the trick is getting information from these other universes, impossible unless one could find a particle that doesn't fit Einstein's theory of relativity, such as the faster-than-light tachyon for example.
  • After reading the letter, Peterson is struck by how unreal reality according to science has become.