“The Last Roman” / Memorable Fancies #1609

You spent a lot of money on that time-travel ticket to ancient Rome, but you thought it would be worth it – you’d be one of the few people who could honestly say they’d been there, seen debates in the Senate, perhaps the Emperor himself. You’d have been, among all your friends back in 2016, the only Roman. All you’d need to return to the present, the travel agent said, was to go to the temple of Janus, find a certain stone in the east wall, and press a hidden button. But you did become a … [Read more...]

“Harry Changes the Past” / Memorable Fancies #0122

Harry decides to change the past. He invents a machine and goes into the past and changes it. Now he can’t remember that he ever did that, in the old present that now never happened. -or- Harry decides to change the past. He does, resulting in Harry’s no longer existing in the present. So he couldn’t have decided to change the past. He’s still here, in the present. Harry’s head hurts. -or- Harry decides to change the past. He travels into the past, but then assumes he’s in the … [Read more...]

“Time Travel for Shopping and Other Mischief” / Memorable Fancies #534

     “Time travel for shopping!” the online ad announced. “Just think of it! Buy an original Rembrandt for just a an ounce or two of silver, or the original score of a Mozart symphony!”      Other firms picked up the theme. “Time Travel for Sex” was a big hit, traveling back to a time before AIDS. “Time travel to tell off that idiot back when you should have done that but didn’t, remember?” was very popular. And even “Save England by assassinating William of Normandy!” This last offer … [Read more...]

“The Experiment” / A Memorable Fancy #328

     We were pretty sure our new machine would send people into the future. Being very brave, Bruce (our lab tech) volunteered to jump forward one week. If he suddenly popped into re-existence then, we’d declare victory. Well, we performed the experiment and waited seven days with great anticipation, but Bruce didn’t appear.      Then it occurred to Dr. Halverson, the project’s principal investigator, that our machine must have worked correctly after all, and that we could now pop the … [Read more...]

A Memorable Fancy #005b: Gate 32

     Strange things happen from time to time at Gate 32. People arrive from a past decade, appear and then vanish, etc. As a last resort, airport authorities close off Gate 32, wall it in. Voices are heard from inside, becoming ever more desperate. It is possible that a few real flights have landed, their pilots misdirected by careless controllers or ground crews. Their passengers mingle with those from the past, amaze them with stories of how the world has turned out, how much they fear the … [Read more...]