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There was a short novel I found in my library few years ago, whose title nor author I don't remember. It was in a hard sci-fi setting: there was a pair of characters (man and woman) which traveled through galaxy. The story was told in a chronological order, but because of time travel (for which a binary star system was used), they often met older or younger themselves, multiple times. There was even a diagram (done by author) of their lives and how the story actually was seen from their point of view: with events ordered as they saw them.

I remember there was a talk about seeing the world from one or many perspectives at once--it was even called with some special words, but as I read only a Polish translation, I don't know how it was named in English.

EDIT: the English words used were: Simplex, Duplex, and Multiplex (thanks to Winchell Chung for adding them in a comment). /EDIT

I think the original was in English, and that it was written before 1990... but I'm not sure. It was a single book, it had maybe 100 pages.

One of the first scenes was that boy (main character) lived on a not very interesting planet and wanted to escape from it. He knew an old lady living on that planet. That lady once showed him a girder bridge that was built on that planet--she said it was modeled after a bridge on Earth. She said that as long as he stands in one place, he cannot see that it is a girder bridge, as he sees it only from one perspective. That lady was actually the same woman he will meet later on a ship (as a young girl), but in her last stage of life.

What was that story name?

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    Time travel is a common enough theme that this might not be unique, except perhaps for the diagram. Do you know if the diagram was by the author or by the translator or editor? What language did you read it in, are you sure the original was in English, do you remember if it was alone in a book or in an anthology? Can you be more precise about “a few years ago”, was it new then? If you remember any words, even if they're from the translation, they may help. – user56 Apr 25 '11 at 22:33
  • Gilles: clarified it. I hope this will help... – liori Apr 26 '11 at 0:03
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By the description, it sounds a lot like Empire Star by Samuel R. Delany.

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    This is it. Thank you! – liori May 3 '11 at 20:51
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    Agreed, I realized OP was asking about Empire Star when they mentioned the bridge. Views Simplex, Duplex, and Multiplex – Winchell Chung Jan 25 '17 at 13:32
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    (Very late, and just for accuracy as I've just re-read it.) Simplex, complex, and multiplex. One of my favourite books; very short but exactly as long as it needs to be. – simon at rcl Mar 18 '18 at 22:59

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