When Hannah first arrives on the new world, she sees a billboard warning against predictives. What are they?
As Dr. Czerny later explains to Zack, predictives are illegal pills that supposedly allow people to channel their inner temporis and see the future. They’re all a scam, a byproduct of the country’s precognition craze.
Why is the cash in this America a glossy blue?
Because it’s a special kind of ink that can’t be temporically duplicated. You can imagine the economic chaos if everyone could make near flawless copies of their legal tender.
If flying cars are so popular, wouldn’t there need to be air traffic controllers on every street corner?
Aerocars can only be operated on regulated aer roads. Cutting your own path across the sky is a great way to get a date in traffic court.
How do flying ambulances speed through the city without crashing into another vehicle?
Most cities have at least five different levels of aer traffic. The lowest one is strictly reserved for emergency vehicles. Easy breezy.
Why did California split into two states in 1940?
Because millions of people fled the East Coast after the Cataclysm of 1912, causing a huge population explosion on the other side of the country.
Is the Cataclysm the source of all the big cultural/historical/scientific differences on this Earth?
Yes. The two worlds were identical up until that very moment. And as Zack correctly surmises near the end of the book, every big difference between this world and the old one can be traced back to the Cataclysm in one way or another.
If revivers can heal almost any physical injury, wouldn’t you be able to find them in every building, like first aid kits?
No. As Quint explains, revivers are complicated devices that require a medical license to operate. Even when skillfully used, there’s a 1% chance that the person getting revived will suffer permanent or fatal damage.
And considering that revivers can also be used to erase recent memories, you can see the potential for abuse. Thus the technology is highly regulated.
Quint told the Silvers that timeshifting was incredibly common in America today. Wouldn’t screwing with the body’s 24-hour clock leave half the population in a perpetual state of jet lag? Not to mention the incorrect times on their wristwatches.
I’d originally included more about this in the narrative. For starters, people who shift a lot typically wear synchron watches that connect to a radio tower and automatically adjust for local time.
As for the body’s schedule, that would indeed be a problem. That’s why vims are so popular. They’re liquid stimulants that make caffeine look like valium by comparison. People use them to force their body’s clock to adjust to the elongated day.
Why does this America have such a big fixation on Teddy Roosevelt?
Because he helped guide the nation through the grief and trauma of the Cataclysm. His public call for perseverance (in which the phrase “keep walking” became American lexicon) has been cemented as one of the greatest motivational speeches in history.
When DP-9 first investigates the Silvers, they use ghost drills to watch Amanda’s confrontation with local police. Wouldn’t they need a warrant to search the past like that?
On private property, yes. But this was a federal highway. The government can ghost it all they want.
Wouldn’t ghost drills make all crimes ridiculously solvable?
You’d think so, but there are a number of Fourth Amendment issues that either curtail the use of ghost drills or make their findings inadmissible in court. Also, the use of a simple mask would make it that much easier for criminals to stump investigators. Long story short: there’s still crime in this world. But as you see from Melissa Masaad’s scenes in the second half of the book, the Deps have become extremely reliant on ghost drill technology.
If this alternate Earth is so technologically advanced, why is their culture so racist/sexist/xenophobic?
As Quint tells the Silvers, the Cataclysm of 1912 drove America inward as a nation. They all but sealed the borders and shut out of the rest of the world. That lead to some stunted cultural development, as well as a much greater tolerance for prejudice. It’s also why their movies suck.
When the Silvers dine at that roadside speedery, Theo sees a sign advising pregnant women and epileptics not to use the booth’s built-in time shifter. What’s the danger?
One can assume that shifting is a key trigger for epileptic seizures. As for pregnant women, I figure it’s a less dramatic precaution. At the very least, too much shifting would screw with the due date.
Is Commemoration a national holiday or just a New York thing?
It’s a national holiday. But considering that the Cataclysm was a New York event, the city obviously makes an exceptionally big deal about it.