Study Guide

Timescape Chapter 46

By Gregory Benford

Chapter 46

October 28, 1974

  • Gordon walks around Washington, D.C., taking in the sights.
  • Eventually, he makes his way to the building were the ceremony will be held.
  • In the reception hall, he bumps into Shriffer, who has done rather well for himself speculating on Gordon's data.
  • Shriffer wants Gordon to release the names of the people that came over the transmission, but Gordon's answer is a resolute no.
  • Gordon even runs into Lakin, who shares some nondescript words with him.
  • Someone calls out Gordon's name; it's Marsha, his wife. Yes, it looks as though things ultimately didn't work out between Penny and him.
  • A young man confronts Gordon, having just crashed the party without an invite; his hastily written nametag reads, Gregory Markham.
  • Markham discusses his theories with Gordon, and Gordon finds he is getting excited by the ideas and questions Markham raises.
  • He wonders if this chance meeting could be a frame for a paradox, but decides not—after all, this isn't the same Markham who will one day die in a plane crash, and he knows the break in the universes already happened back in 1963.
  • Gordon takes his seat and ponders the implications of all that has happened.
  • While he waits to receive his award, Gordon realizes he forgot to prepare a speech.
  • Trying to focus, he believes he sees faces in the crowd, his dead mother and Penny among them. He realizes time runs both forward and backward, the waves of the timescape rippling through everything.
  • The President calls his name to receive the Enrico Fermi Prize. Gordon rises to receive his award and give his speech, and as he looks out into the audience, he sees the waves moving through them.