Quantum History is the concept that linear time is the result of our perception of history, based on the viewer travelling through the most probable series of events. Its basis is in the idea that every event has numerous points at which they could occur and that a given observer will view these events as happening only at the most likely of these potential points.
In a linear view of time an event must occur at one given point, which will be determined by numerous contributory factors such as the standard linear flow of time (e.g. it cannot be 12:04pm before 12:03pm has passed) and the need for effect to follow cause (e.g. a match cannot have a flame before it has been lit). The linear view of time requires only one time dimension and for all events to occur along a one-dimensional axis, known colloquially as the ‘time line’.
In the Quantum History view, an event may occur at any point in time but the chances of it occurring at any given point in time will vary. The event will be likely to occur at certain points but will be very unlikely to occur at others. This variation of likelihood generates a probability cloud for each event, which cannot be plotted using a simple one-dimensional view of time (Quantum History therefore requires at least two time dimensions).
The ‘time line’ we perceive in our daily lives is the result of the progression of time along the most probable route between events.
Quantum History gives rise to a number of potential effects and hazards, the most problematic being the decoupling of cause and effect. In the linear view of time, effects must have a cause and the effect must also follow the cause. Although in a Quantum History universe, effect is most likely to follow cause (i.e. the probability of an ‘effect’ event occurring will be stacked so that it is most likely to follow its associated ’cause’ event), it is not necessary for it to do so. Matches in a Quantum History universe have the potential to carry a flame without first having been lit; although it is highly improbable that such an event would occur. Similarly, matches in a Quantum History universe may potentially not carry a flame once lit; although again this is unlikely to occur.
Each event therefore becomes its own miniature timeline, determining its own past and future by weaving relationships between other events within a Quantum History universe based on its own probability factor and the relationship of this factor to the probabilities of surrounding events. An event X, which would come before an event Y in a linear time universe, may come before event Y in a Quantum History universe or, from the point of view of event Z, have never occurred.
Use in The Life of Nob T. Mouse
The Life of Nob T. Mouse follows the Quantum History model of time, with each story being viewed as an ‘event’. The order in which each story is produced determines its most probable position on a linear view of time but each event is not necessarily linked to those following or preceeding it. Characters undertaking certain actions in story X may not recall these actions in story Y and may, in fact, never have undertaken them at all (or may, from their current point of view, not have undertaken them yet).
From an external (i.e. reader’s) point of view therefore, it is best to avoid questions of continuity. Continuity is nonlinear in The Life of Nob T. Mouse, which is brilliant from a writer’s point of view because it cunningly avoids all question of the dreaded continuity error. There are no continuity errors in The Life of Nob T. Mouse, only alternative timelines and varied pasts.