Study Guide

Timescape Chapter 8

By Gregory Benford

Chapter 8

October 14, 1962

  • Gordon meets with Lakin in his office. Lakin has invited him to discuss the NSF grant.
  • Lakin wants them to write about Gordon's nuclear resonance problem and start by publishing a piece in Physics Review Letters.
  • Gordon argues they don't have any results to publish, but Lakin pish-poshes this sentiment, saying he feels they might have discovered a new physical effect. They can call it "spontaneous resonance" as a working name.
  • Gordon remains hesitant, but Lakin pushes that this is exactly what they need for the grant profile.
  • And, he adds sinisterly, if Gordon's experiment doesn't yield results, then Lakin will have little support for him when it comes time to review Gordon's position at the university.
  • Gordon picks his mother up from Lindbergh Field. When they are almost to his house, Mrs. Bernstein brings up Penny. Gordon explains she is a California girl, but his mother seems doubtful.
  • At dinner, Mrs. Bernstein starts a conversation with Penny about literature, and it is clear she does not approve of her son's girlfriend.
  • After dinner, Mrs. Bernstein leaves, making it explicitly clear that she doesn't not approve of her son dating both a non-Jewish woman and living with her outside of marriage.
  • When Gordon returns, he lets Penny know she won't win the '''Susan Semite' contest" (8.115), not that she was ever in the running.
  • The next day, Gordon goes to check on his mother at her hotel. He finds she has checked out and left a note for him.
  • The note explains her worry and her hopes that Gordon will see the truth about Penny and his relationship one day.