Isaac Asimov's Concept
A few days after reading the New Scientist article where I first learnt about John Cramer's ideas I suddenly realised that a retro causal effect over any time length, however short, could be amplified by cascading a series of these short 'inverted delays'. In a great state of excitement I wrote to Cramer; his response was that I was correct but Asimov had anticipated my idea by almost 60 years.
The concept of a cascade of small backward intervals of time was first explored by Isaac Asimov in "The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline," published in the March 1948 issue of Astounding Science Fiction and reprinted in The Analog Anthology #1 (Davis, 1980). This was a spoof scientific article. The article presents the description of fictitious substance thiotimoline. Thiotimoline has the property that it dissolves 1.12 seconds before the introduction of a solvent. Asimov further discusses telechronic batteries. These use a series of cells containing thiotimoline connected to each other through a process of adding water to extend the inverted delay time over which the thiotimoline will dissolve. I quote:
'The principle behind the telechronic battery is easy to understand and home experimenters will have no trouble constructing their own. A test tube containing properly purified thiotimoline is placed between a low-powered laser and a photoelectric cell. When the thiotimoline dissolves, 1.12 seconds before the addition of water, the formerly opaque thiotimoline becomes transparent and the photoelectric cell is tripped. This in turn results in water being added to another test tube containing thiotimoline. The thiotimoline in the second test tube will, of course, dissolve 2.24 seconds before water was added to the first tube. By cascading these "endochronometers" it is possible to create a telechronic battery of any desired time constant. Cascading 3215 endochronometers, for example, results in a battery in which the last tube's thiotimoline dissolves about 1 hour before water is added to the first tube.'