26 Comments

  1. Not to mention Ruben Bolling’s “Percival Dunwoody, Idiot Time Traveler From 1909.”

  2. Arthur: All You Zombies?
    h ttps://gist.github.com/defunkt/759182/ad44c6135d168ae54503a281bb7e1a24c6c2ea0c

  3. Argh. Didn’t mean for that to include the content from the link, obviously!

  4. Phil, I’m sure there’s a “right” way to do it, but I’m all about finding the workaround.

    I would just leave h off the http: that should make WordPress think it’s an invalid URL, but it wouldn’t be difficilt for somebody else to just restore it.

  5. In anticipation of Bill deleting my fumble:

    Arthur: All You Zombies? ieng9.ucsd.edu/~mfedder/zombies.html

  6. PSIII, the reader is confused in that one, not the time traveler. I’m not planning to reread it to see how confused the protagonist was in David Gerrold’s The Man Who F-ed Himself. I’m not recommending it to anyone else, either.

  7. Arthur: ah, sorry.
    P.S. “The Man Who Folded Himself”. Not likely to get moderated?!

  8. Come to think of it, the protagonist is at least somewhat confused in Heinlein’s other time-travel short: By His Bootstraps.

  9. Er, the “F—” word in the Gerrold novel title is “Folded” (which I’m sure you remembered, so Well Played. ) But of course at some points in the novel he and various hims/hers from alt-timelines did justify the other common verb as well.

    I’m a bit grumped out that Phil, even if inadvertently, got to post the text of an entire short story, while my quotation of a couple of short paragraphs of James Branch Cabell has been in moderation for several hours. Maybe the robot moderator recalls the uproar about Cabell’s naughtiness back in the 1920s and still gets the vapors? I wouldn’t have thought the modbot was around back in the 1920s, but if so, it might explain a lot.

  10. And my mild grump about being sent into moder*tion just now was in its turn put into mod*ration. I guess I’ll call it a day.

  11. “P.S. “The Man Who Folded Himself”. Not likely to get moderated?!”

    My SF book discussion group did that book some years back. No one liked it. And, based on the content, we all pretty much decided to use the name I used above. It’s as accurate and it conveys our feelings about it.

  12. Oh. Was “folded” supposed to be a euphemism for what he did with himself a lot in the book?

  13. “Oh. Was “folded” supposed to be a euphemism for what he did with himself a lot in the book?”

    No, IIRC “folding” was how time travel worked in the book. But also, IIRC, there was an orgy consisting of just the protagonist from a bunch of timelines.

  14. No, I knew that, but was “fold” also a euphemism for another word beginning with ‘f’?

  15. “No, I knew that, but was “fold” also a euphemism for another word beginning with ‘f’?”

    No. It wasn’t. Although he did that too., that’s not what “fold” meant or was intended to mean.

    I’m glad no-one liked it in your group. It’s the type of time travel book *everyone* (and I mean, absolutely, everyone) thinks of writing so I guess it’s inevitable that someone *does* write it. But really, to be a *good* book you should include at least one thing that *wasn’t* something everyone else thought of.

  16. No. It wasn’t. Although he did that too., that’s not what “fold” meant or was intended to mean.

    I thought people were implying that above. Perhaps not.

    I’m glad no-one liked it in your group.

    I think you intended that for Arthur.

  17. I recall thinking that “By his bootstraps” managed to work everything out pretty perfectly, and had enough complication to make it interesting while always providing explanations / reminders that kept you on track. But as a consequence was somewhat mechanical. “All you zombies” then felt freer, and spicier , as though Heinlein felt he had already done the job of working out the logic (but which was written first?) , but may have depended on ideas about medical sex-change that aren’t the way we see them working out in reality.

    But for me the champ of the “Classic SF” era time-travel work was Asimov’s “The End of Eternity” . At first it feels like he is hardly doing anything like the interesting speculative time travel explorations others were practicing – the different centuries were just like floors of a gigantic building, and the operations of the Eternity organization were like a transport company operating huge freight elevators.

    But then you notice the characters in the behind-the-scenes Eternity offices and transport areas are living their own world-lines with a timeline flow, and some consistency about whether two workers had encountered each other “recently” ; so that they have something like an additional time like dimension . And this eventually leads to the powerful conceptualizations of how there has to be a difficult origin story for the whole operation of time travel and the Eternity system, eventually requiring a “looping” event. (And establishing Looping as a major trope for much later time travel writing)

    And this extra dimension provides a way of asking about the “velocity” of propagation of changes to reality. Which in turn underlies my solution to the “ shooting your own grandfather” type of paradoxes without resorting to the “well it just couldn’t happen, because of the inertia, you can’t fight across the strength of the currents of time” type of explanation — which unfortunately this comment box is too narrow to contain.

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