SPOILERS & TEASERS
Qualia picks up a book, or what passes for a book in her strange land, and reads... And we're plunged into nested universes where time runs out. There's nostalgia and revenge and wordplay, a romp through different worlds where appearances can be deceptive and realities are built by interface engines. But Qualia finds enlightenment, for qualia (no capital letter) can only exist in the bubble universes created by the time machine.
This is metafiction and the unreliable narrator jumps. Perhaps the book is an instruction manual written by a time machine, whatever that means. Once you've read Yesterday Makers read Pierce, Qualia, & The Time Ship to find out more.
BRICKS IN THE WALL
Paxton wants to check if the past that he's visiting is real, and so he counts the bricks on the church opposite:
"I looked at the church, and I concentrated very hard, because the brain always plays tricks and fills in details that might not be there. I counted the individual courses for the height of an arched window. Valuable time, I admit, but time well spent. There was no skimping in the rendering, no artistic suggestion—the building was carefully drawn, not lightly sketched. Every stone and brick was there. This place was real."
Detail from a drawing done when the author was ten. At that age, he drew every brick... And that is what inspired the passage in the book.
“The church opposite rippled through the frosted glass, and I wanted to check that it was properly built.”