The most twisted time travel paradox was arguably imagined by Robert Heinlein in his classic short story “All You Zombies”. It is thus often referred as the ‘All You Zombies Paradox’. 2014 Australian science fiction film Predestination is based on this paradox.
Here is a brief explanation of the ‘All You Zombies Paradox’
Cleveland 1945 – A baby is mysteriously dropped off at an orphanage This baby, now named ‘Jane’ grows up lonely and sad in the orphanage.
Cleveland 1963 – Jane meets a drifter. She is attracted to him, falls in love with him and finally becomes pregnant by him. The drifter soon disappears leaving her alone yet again.
Cleveland 1964 – While delivering the child, the doctors realize that Jane is an inter-sex i.e she has both sets of sex organs. To save her life during this complicated delivery, doctors remove a set of sex organs. Jane is now a man.
To add to her… his woes, his newborn baby girl is also abducted from the hospital. Over the next few years Jane tries to build a career and finally becomes a drifter who makes a living writing confession stories in magazines. He calls himself Unmarried Mother.
New York 1970 – Jane who now calls himself the Unmarried Mother, stumbles upon a elderly and sympathetic bar tender to whom he tells his sob story. The bartender says that he can help Unmarried Mother take revenge on the drifter who had ruined his life, if in return the Unmarried Mother agrees to join the “Time Travellers Corps”. Unmarried Mother agrees and the bartender takes him to a “Time Machine”
On the time machine the bartender
a) Drops the Unmarried Mother in 1963 Cleveland where he is strangely attracted to an orphan girl and impregnates her.
b) Goes forward 9 months in 1964 and kidnaps a baby from the hospital.
c) Goes back to 1945 Cleveland and drops the abducted baby in an orphanage.
d) Picks up the Unmarried mother from 1963 and drops him in 1985 to join the “Time Travel Corps”
Now this drifter or the Unmarried Mother works for years with the Time Travel Corps and becomes it’s respected and elderly member. Years later he disguises himself as a bartender and waits back in 1970 to meet the Unmarried mother in a bar.
So, the ‘All You Zombies Paradox’ is :
Who is Jane’s mother, father, grandfather, grand mother, son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson?
Jane, Unmarried Mother, Bartender? Yes, and they are all the same person. In fact if we draw Jane’s family tree she is the entire family tree herself.
The Time Graph can be seen as below :
Do not forget to watch our youtube video for “All you Zombies Paradox’
Ostracize Sentence: When her father was convicted for felony, her friends ostracized her instead of supporting her.
Under The Lens:Ostracize History
In ancient Greece there was a practice where certain people were temporarily banished by popular vote. The procedure was that people wrote the name of the person they wanted to be banished on pottery shreds or ostraka. The person who got maximum votes was banished provided he received more than 6000 votes. He was given 10 days to leave and if he returned the penalty was death.
The word ostracize comes from ostraka or pottery shreds that were used in voting. Ostracize means to banish from one’s native place. Though ostracize still retains its original meaning, in modern English it is more often used to describe informal exclusion from society, friendship, conversation, privileges, etc.
Mane Sentence: The wig she wore had been made from horses’ mane.
Under The Lens:Mane – Informal Use
Mane refers to the long hair growing on the back of or around the neck and neighboring parts of some animals, as the horse or lion. Informally the word is also used to refer to the long and thick hair of a human.
Obeisance Sentence: The students paid obeisance to the teacher as he entered the class.
Under The Lens:About Obeisance
We learnt in the video that obeisance is a gesture of respect. More specifically obeisance is a movement of the body which shows differential respect such as a bow or curtsy. Obeisance is not only a gesture of respect but also of submission. It is often practiced in cultures where there is a strong class structure. In contrast the western world often reacts with hostility to the idea of bowing to an authority figure.
Heartrending Sentence: The condition of the poor people in this city is heartrending.
Under The Lens: Heartrending Etymology
The word originated somewhere in the 1680s. Rend means to tear apart or cut violently into pieces. So heartrending describes something which tears your heart apart or causes you to feel great sympathy.
Heedless Sentence: In his quest to become successful in his career he became heedless to the needs of his family.
Under The Lens: Difference between Heedless and Thoughtless
Heedless implies not giving attention to something due to lack of consideration, self-preoccupation or stubbornness. Ex – heedless remark about his son. It is more often disapproving in tone but can sometimes suggest a daring attitude. Ex – heedless to eminent dangers.
Thoughtless is less disapproving than heedless as it more often suggests an unintentional carelessness unlike the deliberate inconsideration which is suggested by heedless. Ex – a thoughtless mistake.
Mettlesome Sentence: She is a mettlesome woman who took care of her children alone after losing her husband in an accident.
Under The Lens: On One’s Mettle
Mettlesome comes from the word mettle which means courage or fortitude. Mettlesome may also describe someone who is spirited. The idiom on one’s mettle means in the position of being incited to do one’s best. The loss of the first set against Federer put Nadal on his mettle to win the match.