in time-travel contexts: one of a number of possible futures; cf. slightly earlier alternative future n.
So, although b can reverse his time machine and go back to his own date, he will never find the reality of the present he left. He will always land in another of the infinite number of alternate futures coexisting.
It takes time, lots of time before the alternate futures split off and differentiate.
That meant that Asher Sutton could not, would not be allowed to die before the book was written. However it were written, the book must be written or the future was a lie. Sutton shrugged. The tangled thread of logic was too much for him. There was no precept, no precedent upon which one might develop the pattern of cause and result. Alternate futures? Maybe, but it didn’t seem likely. Alternate futures were a fantasy that employed semantics-twisting to prove a point, a clever use of words that covered up and masked the fallacies.
He felt poised in this instant of time, as an impossibly slow spinning top might poise before falling. He could almost sense the rotation of the earth, carrying him past the successive doorways leading to his alternate futures. It was within his power to move forward into whichever he wished, to go on putting up with things as they were or to make a clean break and any of half a dozen fresh starts, or to set in train events leading to a break being forced on him. He could picture with painful clarity the likely form that each of those futures would take. Only the act of choosing between them was beyond his present ability.
‘Greater Than Gods’ is a non-series story about an alternate future.
My own car comes from an alternate future that clearly has nothing to do with the one you described.
Alfred Bester, "The Probable Man"
We would like cites of any date from other authors.
Last modified 2021-01-05 17:58:35
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.