The Cusanus Game
By Wolfgang Jeschke (translated by Ross Benjamin)
The fate of Europe is a subject much in the news lately, with some pundits speculating that the whole continent might eventually become nothing more than a sort of cultural theme park. That’s an option that plays in the background of this touristy time-travel epic set in the year 2052. Scary present trends have continued and Europe is in even worse shape than it is now, with global climate change, species extinctions, mass migrations, and the fallout from a nuclear disaster having turned much of the EU into a toxic hot mess.
If history is all that Europe has left, then its history will have to save it. Enter a brave team of scientists seeking to rescue Europe by surfing “soliton waves” into its past, including a visit to Nicholas of Cusa in the fifteenth century. This leads to the usual confusion of temporal paradoxes and alternate universes, with the discussion of the physics of how time travel works being especially thorough (or fanciful, depending on how rigorous you are about such things). Only time will tell, however, if the project will lead to a new renaissance or the end of the world as we know it.