I’ve always been fascinated by time paradoxes, but many stories about time travel seem, to me, to be quite lazy about getting the logic right. I think a lot of authors just want to put their characters into different time periods and play with “what-ifs” based on changing history, or maybe just use the time period as a setting for action. What I like is really exploring what could happen by changing the past, especially your own past.
Many years ago I read “The Man Who Folded Himself” by David Gerrold. The book explores what happens when a young man visits himself in the past and the future. Gerrold has a wonderful imagination, and the book stayed with me all these years. Not only did it address time paradoxes as well as anything I’d ever read, it also broke new ground with its treatment of gay characters.
I decided to write a kind of homage to that book – a very short story, barely longer than a flash, that would also have a gay character, but would also deal with the issue of AIDS, unknown to Gerrold at the time he wrote the book. You could think of AIDS as something akin to the Mule in Asimov’s Foundation trilogy – something completely unexpected, impossible to predict, impossible to deal with using the laws of probability.
Two-Edged Sword tells two rounds of a story that swirls in time, circling back and forth, never ending. Each round changes something, and that causes changes that cycle back. I took away the cop-out of multiple time streams and instead looked at the time stream as something that doesn’t have an arrow – that can move in both directions, or more properly, in a circle.
Take a look and decide for yourself how well I succeeded. www.quantummuse.com
This is a very short, but very serious story that is part of a cycle of stories that I’m writing, all trying to answer the question: “What if the Intelligent Design people are right?” OK, if you’re not a religious fundamentalist, you probably must think that I’m some bible thumper now, but you’d be wrong. I simply wanted to take an idea, which I personally don’t think makes any sense at all, and try to make it work in the world of science and natural phenomena. Intelligent Design advocates, who are the direct descendents of Creation Scientists, believe that some amorphous Head Designer created the world. By doing this, the Head Designer becomes what they call God.
But what if they were right? How would it all work? What would God’s real nature be if he/she/it were a super-scientist who created our world? To simplify, I limit the act of creation to just that of the human species, and I make the Designers plural – a whole race of aliens. The story is told from the point of view of the first generation of humans cut off from their designers (whom they call gods). It centers around a conflict between a priest and warrior. The priest wants the people to remember the gods (designers), worship them, and pray for their return (sound familiar?). The warrior counsels people to live for themselves, forget about their origins.
The story is written in a style that one commentator said reminded him of Roger Zelazny in Lord of Light. I was striving more for a very slight resemblance to Hesse’s Siddhartha, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Lord of Light was inspired by Siddhartha. The title’s allusion is, I hope obvious, and the core story is in fact a retelling of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
You can read it here:
This was my first published story, and a personal favorite. It takes place in the universe of my novel, Brighter than the Stars (there’ll be other posts about that) but the characters are a little different than they are in the book. The title relates to the legal theme of the story, but also to a song by Muse with the same title, a song I like a lot. I recently saw another story with this same name on Daily Science Fiction, and the author also mentioned the Muse song as an inspiration. Yes, it’s a great song!!
The Fine Print is a humor piece that lampoons lawyers, overly serious SF stories about evil aliens, and even the Twilight Zone. I wrote it originally like a play – almost 100% dialog, but QM’s editor, Time Goyette suggested I add some description, and that really helped. It takes place entirely in a hospital room and has just four characters. It was a lot of fun to work on and get right. No deep meaning here – just a little fun.
It’s not a long story, so please just go and read it at: