Study Guide

Timescape Chapter 19

By Gregory Benford

Chapter 19

May 29, 1963

  • Gordon and Penny decide to have a night out at a fancy restaurant. Gordon tells her about the colloquium, which has been eating at him ever since.
  • Penny tries to get him to stop brooding and gives him joking gifts from her purse to cheer him up.
  • One of the gifts—a bumper sticker promoting Goldwater—prompts another political argument between the two.
  • Gordon discovers the waiter is gay and is surprised at how nonchalant Penny is about it (remember: we're in 1962). He is amazed that someone could be comfortable with homosexuality, read Philip K. Dick, and vote for a conservative like Goldwater and yet be the same person. What can we say? Nobody puts Penny in a corner.
  • He thinks back to a time when he walked in on Penny going to the bathroom and how they both realized how domesticated they had become.
  • Penny pulls Gordon out of his thoughts. He tells her that Saul and Frank Drake will be looking for a signal to prove Saul's message theory; Penny thinks it is good they are doing something.
  • She points out that scientists can be pretty rigid in the way they think with their equations. Gordon realizes she has a point: The others could be wrong about his data "simply because of habits of mind" (19.90).