FAQ about the AWF: Why are no digital devices allowed?

Digital devices can lead to competing causalities.

Digital devices can lead to competing causalities.

Ask the All Worlds Fair’s chief temporal engineer, Bernard Clairvaux, that question, and he just laughs.  “Have you ever tried to string over 3,000 realities into a two story building?  Pulling this off every year, it’s a miracle we don’t all end up like Atlantis!”

Of course All Worlds Fair technology has advanced significantly since an unforeseen Atropos Event condemned the city of Atlantis to sink below the waves in every universe.  But that doesn’t mean we’re not still very careful.

“Back then we were keeping the branes of each universe apart through sheer force, which meant we had to use a series of volcanoes or a Dyson Sphere to get enough power just to keep the exit signs lit,” Bernard says.  “Of course something went wrong.  Now, though, we can use each universe’s own Lachesis charge to keep them just far enough apart.  We’ve learned to work with time continuities, not against them.  We set up a discontinuous network, and everything works fine.  The lights turn on, and no two universes overlap where they shouldn’t.   But … and this is the crucial thing … it only works in a stable environment, and that’s why digital devices are a no go.”

Digital phones, cameras, and music players may seem harmless to people who have never crossed through realities, but these devices – especially when electronically tethered to other devices in their home universes – almost inevitably lead to time/reference paradoxes.

“Analog devices don’t cause this problem, because an analog device ultimately is referencing what’s happening within its own workings, or the world immediately around it,” Bernard said.   “But a digital device from another universe is measuring what’s still happening in that universe, and suddenly the network’s no longer discontinuous.  With competing frames of reference quantum resolution goes haywire.  You’ve got waveforms collapsing unaccountably, causality starts moving multiple directions, and if you don’t get things under control quickly you’ve got a big steaming Cantor’s Quantification Paradox sitting in your lap.”

“For me,” Bernard added, “that means double or triple overtime trying to get everything back in the box.  For Travelers, it can mean you go home to a broken world.”

That’s why digital devices must be turned off and placed in a continuity refracting pouch (which Passport and Docent staff can provide) prior to entering the Fair.

We thank you for your patience and understanding,