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Not just rockets & robots...
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

Science Fiction

Time Travel

Many have opined that this topic belongs properly to Fantasy, but following convention, we too classify it as science fiction. From trite paradoxes to tachyonic effusions of phoenix-like prebirth, there's a lot to work with here. We hope you enjoy.

by Benjamin Abbott
Clap. I felt it that time. A surge as the plates shifted against each other like two lovers. It was a big jump, judging by the decor. Horrid paisley wallpaper in a thousand shades of mustard. I think that makes this the 1970s? Or is it the 1960s? I lose track. This isn't supposed to be my timeline. I'm not even born.
Published on May 21, 2021
by Dustin Adams
The sign comes first. It hovers high in the sky, projecting green neon light, and we believe it because we don't have technology like that. Site of the first ever Future Faire.
Published on Jan 21, 2014
by Edoardo Albert
"Ring the bells. It is dawn, and this day at least, God willing, we will endure." I watched the man scurry from the room. The bishop stared out of the window as if by sheer force of will he could force the barbarians from the walls of his city. "Write this down. Take it with you to Possidius and see that it is added to my Confessions." Augustine turned to look at me. "I want to tell how I lost my son."
Published on Oct 15, 2010
by S. R. Algernon
Dear Customers of Quantum Polytemporal Interactive Dating (popularly known as qPid): It has been our goal for over five years (meta-time) or five millennia (world-time) to provide you and your loved ones from whatever century with reliable service and to ensure a positive user experience across the timeline. Recently (in a five-dimensional sense), an uptick in complaints has put our support staff under considerable strain. Some of these reflect basic misunderstandings of our services. Others are, sadly, beyond our capacity to solve. So that we can continue to offer diachronic dating and chat, we ask your cooperation in reading and acknowledging the following guidelines before opening an account.
Published on Nov 30, 2015
by Brenda Joyce Anderson
"He can't be gone." Art stared at the four foot high, thirty-legged, polka-dot spider wearing a straw boater. "Grandfather summoned me. He wouldn't just disappear." His grandfather did weird things, but sending fake urgent invitations wasn't one of them. The elongated daddy-long-legs struck a dramatic pose. "There's a message. 'Find the third suitcase. Above all, find me. Find me, wherever I am.'"
Published on Jul 17, 2020
by W. Sean Arthur
Mike pushed through the door, closing it carefully behind him. It was cold outside. "Evening, Joe," he said.
Published on Dec 28, 2010
by Andy and RJ Astruc
Name: Marcus Nills That field wasn't so tough to fill out. Marcus exhaled and ran his finger down the page to the next section.
Published on Sep 27, 2011
by Jessie Atkin
No one ever wants to look like a peasant. No matter how many times I insist the ensemble is simpler, less expensive, and honestly, less conspicuous on the other end, no one ever wants to look like a peasant. They don’t get into this job to go around as peasants, or Russian serfs, urban poor in the twentieth century, the shudra in India, or Aztec macehualtin. Every agent insists on knighthood, a noble line, merchant class at least. Who would talk to them, they think, if they were so lowly and homely? They shouldn’t be talking to anyone is what I remind them, but they are the agents with the education and I’m only the costume designer with the experience. I’ve been in this job longer than many of these, essentially babies, will live.
Published on Apr 14, 2021
by Davian Aw
They take your hipbone and join it to another's. Excitement at the matching sizes shine on the paleontologists' faces, tired from weeks of digging through rock. They set it reverently aside from the pile of bones, adding to the slowly growing constructions of complete human skeletons on the ground. Holographic screens show scenes from history and tell them what we looked like. They pore over anatomy, cross-referencing ancient images with ancient bones, debating in an alien tongue over which part goes where. Your surviving rib nestles between those of a dozen strangers in the intimacy of your shared humanity. The shattered pieces of your skull join other fragments into wholeness, and when you scroll forward in time in the future history of your body, you see glimpses of your features looking back at you from two of the reconstructed bodies in the museum. They write stories for them in the fluidly moving labels that accompany every exhibit in the building. Their civilization’s most creative minds bring to life these beings from the past, translated (for artistic effect) into three ancient human scripts. The grammar is clumsy, but you manage to parse the legacies they built for your reconstructed forms. An artist, one label reads. It waxes lyrical over humanity's creative endeavors beside the poised bones clad in synthetic flesh and muscle, covered with their archaeologist's best estimates of that era's typical clothing. Five of your vertebrae hold up her spine. Her face is that of the janitor's young son. (A complete skull, the description reads, remarkably well preserved. Given its size, it would likely have belonged to a female or a juvenile.) You wonder what he had been doing, when the mountain trembled. You imagine his small face turning to the window, a toy in hand, eyes reflecting the tumbling wall of earth. You wonder what he would think, knowing his bones would last millions of years beyond the end of his species, and that parts of his body would form a new body on display in the halls of this alien museum. But the grainy images are fading now; your time in the booth is up. The machines do not usually look this far. Your friends press you for details when you emerge, sharing their pathways to success or tragedies they are determined to avert. It is no more than idle chatter, you all know, for those fragile futures rarely come to pass. The machines are little more than gimmicks. A couple of friends talk about looking far, all the way to the end when their bones were cremated or turned to minerals in the ground. They speak in wonder of those glimpses of the world all those decades after their deaths. Their voices wash over your silence. Your gaze lingers on the mountain, thinking about tragedies, and legacies, and the price of immortality.
Published on Jan 31, 2022
by Robert Bagnall
My granddaughter is a pupil here. That’s why I’ve agreed to help. They’ve put me in Miss Nerhu’s office. It looks over the ribbon of parched grass that rings the school, to the embankment of buddleia and sycamore growing wild beyond. There’s a hint of sandalwood and I wonder whether it’s air freshener or the remnants of Miss Nehru’s perfume when I realize my interrogator has arrived.
Published on Mar 29, 2022
by Rachel Barber
It's a neutron star, he says to me, eyes always up at the night sky. We know they exist by what they emit. Nebulas and pulsars and white dwarfs and neutron stars--Emitt only ever speaks of lights in space. Looking out from the front stoop, where he sits on the rock of the steps, he takes in the universe one blink at a time. Then he pops it back out at you in words.
Published on Dec 9, 2014
by David M. Barry
When I got my license to travel through space-time, the first thing I planned to do was look up Robert Frost. Yeah, that Robert Frost. Don't give me a hard time. I get teased about it enough. "Why would you do that to yourself?" Caleb asked. "Sounds super boring." "He's looking for a Robert Frost who didn't take the road less traveled by," Beatrix said. "He wants to see if it made any difference." Beatrix knows me better than anyone. "You think that's going to help you figure out which way to declare?" Caleb asked. When you get your license, you have to declare what kind of space-time traveler you're going to be. You have two choices: Pleasure Seeker or World Saver. Don't ask why. The Seeker-Saver rule is one of those things adults make up because they can only think in a binary way. Caleb figured out he was a Seeker back in middle school. He couldn't wait to cruise the multiverse and hook up with all his celebrity crushes. Beatrix came from a long line of Savers. She says she never really had a choice. Now she spends her time convincing citizens to get the hell out of Pompeii before Vesuvius erupts. Me? I'm Undecided, which means you get six months of undeclared space-time travel to figure out your path. When I arrived on Earth(2), I learned that their Robert Frost sold the farm and moved to Europe just like our Robert Frost. I tracked him down in a London pub, drinking with Edward Thomas and Ezra Pound. I walked right up to their table, said I was a critic for the Paris Review. "You didn't," Beatrix said. Caleb laughed. "Please tell me you got hammered with them." "Nope. Pound called me on my bullshit." "Please tell me you got into a fistfight with Ezra Pound." "Sorry, Caleb. Edward Thomas stepped in. Brought Pound home." "Was this Robert Frost happy?" Beatrix asked. "Maybe? When I told him I was an aspiring poet seeking advice, he did seem to perk up." "Did he miss the farming life?" "He said, yes and no." "You should pick up Sigmund Freud next time," Caleb said, "Bring him with you. Have him perform his neuro-voodoo act. Maybe that'll help you declare." "Hey, that's a pretty good idea." "I get those once in a while." "Can't remember the last time," Beatrix jabbed. Caleb ignored her. "Listen, X. Just hurry up and declare as a Seeker already. I'll take you partying with the Spice Girls. That may not make all the difference, whatever that means, but at least you'll feel alive." Caleb stepped into his Quantum Entanglement pod, and took off.
I said to Beatrix. "You two make it awkward all the time now. You breaking up?" "I think so." "That sucks." "Whatever. Nothing gold can stay, right?" "Never liked that Frost poem. Too depressing." "You should tell him the next time you see him." "Yeah. Maybe," I said, and stepped into my QE pod. But before I could set coordinates for Earth(3), Beatrix said, "You know he wrote "The Road Not Taken" as a joke, right? He was just teasing Edward Thomas." "Thomas sure took it seriously." "You're missing the point, Xavier. Just like Thomas did. The poem wasn't about the road less traveled by. It was about the friendship between Frost and Thomas. That's what makes all the difference. It's not the road you travel, it's the traveling companion you choose." I stepped out of my QE pod. She said, "Do you know why I go to Vesuvius?" "You're a Saver. You go to save people." "Do you know how many people I've saved?" I shrugged. She never talked about that. I assumed it was a lot. "You know, sometimes, when I'm hanging out in Pompeii, I wonder... what if I stay. Would that make any difference?" "Stay? You mean, like, during the eruption?" "Don't freak out okay? I'm not going to do anything. I just--" Beatrix got quiet then. I closed the door to my pod--Robert Frost on Earth(3) could wait. I sat with her for a long time. I figured at some point the silence would get awkward, but it never did. Eventually, I said, "It would make a difference to me."
Published on Dec 21, 2021
by Juanjo Bazan
I know they won't allow me to travel back in time for no reason. They only accept big missions, with clear goals: kill somebody, cause a discovery, change the outcome of a war. I'm so tired of changing the past to adapt it to our preferences. This time I sneak in alone and tell nobody, because they can't deny permission if I don't ask. I choose the destination and the subject with my rules about no interfering in mind. Then I jump back just a few centuries, and find her in the woods.
Published on May 24, 2018
by Douglas K. Beagley
The Time Traveler entered Starbucks in a hurry. There were five of us, the usual. I was drinking a mocha with whipped cream, trying hard to hold the hot cup and not look like an ass. I wondered if I should have shaved. I was going after Jenn, you know, nodding at what she said. I asked, "What did you think of the book?" and all that, and I thought it was going pretty well. I probably should have shaved. I thought my leather coat was good, but just about then I was worrying she might be a vegetarian now, or hate leather or something. Jenn plays all smart like that.
Published on May 31, 2011
by Annie Bellet
When she left him at the Crossroads of Time for the second time, Darrin didn't start to worry until he'd counted to four million eight hundred and ninety-seven. Then he lost count, again, and started to wonder if Ashley was coming back for him. They'd had another big fight, about the dirty dishes or the cluttered front hall or that curvy blonde he'd kissed on Friday night at the Reel'm Inn or any number of little annoyances that seem to pile up the longer any relationship goes on. But he knew that in a long-term relationship with a Time Traveler, things got sticky on occasion. Last time she'd dumped him here, she'd come back after a count of about a thousand with a smile on her face. Ashley hadn't shared the joke, but she'd taken him home at least.
Published on Jun 23, 2011
by M. Bennardo
First off, step one--commit a crime of passion. You shouldn't plan this, obviously. In fact, you can't plan this. The defining characteristic of a crime of passion is precisely that it's unplanned. Oh sure, there are tendencies. There are indications. A crime of passion doesn't have to be a surprise--it just has to be unplanned.
Published on Apr 9, 2012
by Jacob A. Boyd
The affair lasted longer than expected and left bitter feelings all around. Angela saw no other path; she and Mark deserved a do-over. Thinking about the affair--their hands meeting while reaching for the same just-ripe banana; their first rushed kiss under the bug-clouded lights outside a late night laundromat; the ways they had coupled, which neither had tried, let alone dared mention before meeting the other--it all re-cemented Mark as the one. Felicity, Mark's wife, had just gotten to him first, a high school sweetheart he had knocked up long before reasoned decisions could be made about whom one should love.
Published on Dec 29, 2017
by Eric Brown
The disappearance of the noted science fiction editor Dan Woolover around the 10th October, 1966 was a cause of great mystery, as were the other disappearances in the area of Tubb Street, Brooklyn, around the same time. However, letters discovered recently at Mr. Woolover's office might shed light on the affair.
Published on Jul 16, 2013
by Veronica Brush
Isaac Poulter sat with his wife and children, all staring at the old digital clock they had managed to salvage. Jenny, Isaac's youngest, sat spinning the hand crank that powered the clock as hard as she could, but her little arms were clearly getting tired.
Published on Sep 16, 2022
by H. Burford-Reade
"So, what exactly is a time loop?" I ask, on a wet winter's night, as I take my shoes off and recline on the professor's sofa. "Again, father?" I hold back a sigh as he speaks; it has become harder to talk with him over the last few months. Instead, I nod and smile eagerly. Sitting down next to me, he speaks in a patient tone. "Time repeating itself, conceivably forever. Nobody knows what one would remember between the ending and starting of each loop or whether it's even possible." He looks at me and in his old eyes I see myself. I see pity.
Published on Apr 17, 2017
by Rex Caleval
Everyone said it wouldn't work. I proved them all wrong. Then, I proved them all right.
Published on Feb 1, 2021
by Meg Candelaria
***Warning! This story may be triggering for some readers.*** "Let me see if I've got this straight," said the police officer to the scruffy looking man in front of her. "You're from the future and it's very important you talk to the mayor right now about a horrible threat that we have to avert."
Published on Sep 18, 2017
by Beth Cato
Your past is now your future. You have traveled thirty years back in time to save your cat. Child-you penciled this pivotal date and time in a diary decorated with unicorn stickers, and here you are. Again. You're shaky with nerves as you stare at your childhood home with sentimental eyes and a burglar's need. You must break in. The screen door is latched, the interior door cracked open. The screen's hook-closure lifts up with the help of a twig. The high whine of the television tells you that ten-year-old child-you is watching reruns while your mom is at work this Saturday. The house is small, a 1930s bungalow with creaky floors. You tread with care, fighting the urge to make the particular tongue-click sound that always made Malibu come running. Malibu, your pink-nosed white and grey cat that is more of a sibling than a pet. She is your pillow every night, your quest-mate in tromps through the nearby fields and orchards, her love for you bright in her vivid green eyes. She was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease days before. Your single mom is working two jobs to get by. Your family can't afford prescription medicine or subcutaneous water treatments. While watching TV, child-you is determinedly dripping glue and glitter onto pinecones, certain they will sell and make enough money to help keep Malibu alive. You found freckles of that glitter in your old diary, thirty years in the future. Today, you find Malibu in her shoebox in your bedroom. She doesn't like strangers. She watches you with wary ears as you extend a hand for her to sniff. She investigates--then nuzzles your knuckle. She knows you. You choke back a sob. "Hey, fuzzy-girl," you whisper. "I need you to come with me." You scoop her against your chest. She squawks alarm. With a silent apology to child-you, you quickly exit. Younger you will soon tear the house apart in search of Malibu, followed by sobbing circuits of the neighborhood as you call her name. You're certain she escaped when you went out for the mail. You're heart-broken with guilt, certain she will be run-over by a car. Meanwhile, adult-you sits in the claustrophobic confines of the time machine, forcing a dropper of tuna-flavored kidney regenerative down Malibu's throat. Adult-you also cries as you stroke Malibu calm, taking in the familiar-yet-unfamiliar shape of a cat who will impossibly, healthfully live another decade, but is two decades gone. Though you know the agony of child-you now endures, you're selfishly glad Malibu needs to be monitored for an hour after her dose. You're together again. You starved and scrimped for a year to buy this regenerative. It'll be worth it--but you're scared. You know you succeed here, but you don't know what awaits you in the distant future. But for now, you have Malibu, and she has you. When you were a child, you accepted Malibu's strange recovery as a miracle. That's how the veterinarian described it, repeatedly, as the years ticked by. News of the feline kidney regenerative caught your attention when you scanned headlines during your doctorate days but struck you as a passing curiosity, with Malibu gone so long by then. As you began to work on the time machine project, though, you gave new thought to time loops and paradoxes and miracles. In some alternate universe, Malibu's prognosis must remain grim beyond this date. But you have never known that world, only the timeline that you establish here and now. You pet her, and she purrs with a raspy rumble that is cozier than the thickest blanket on the coldest night. The hour passes. You carry Malibu home in your arms. Child-you and adult-you remember nothing of the savior who toted Malibu into the front yard. Your cat is your world, and she is all you see. You stare after your child self and smile at the gunshot-clang of the door slamming shut. Malibu is safely inside again. You return to the time machine, to the future. The lab is still dark and quiet. No one knows what you've done. Yet. Your hands shake as you falsify logs and video. You've done everything you can think of to cover up your extraneous trip, but you don't know if it's enough. This machine is still an experiment. Every detail of its use is supposed to be chronicled. You're afraid to risk a jump to the future to see if you succeed--afraid that you'll only complicate things more. You return to your apartment. Your cat awaits you. Irvine, a gray tabby as stocky as a bulldog. He investigates you with audible sniffs, taking in not only the strange cat hair, but the lingering scent of the flavored regenerative. Sobbing with relief and terror, you cradle him close. His body vibrates in a purr. You bubble out a hysterical laugh as you recognize sparkles on your hand--glitter specks, passed from the grabby hands of child-you. You wonder if some are in the time machine or lab. If your childhood craft fundraiser might doom you. You already controlled the past as you established the time loop. You can't control the future. Right here, right now, you do the most important thing in the world that you can do. You pet your cat.
Published on Sep 22, 2021
by Gregg Chamberlain
It only seems like it's always full-moon night at the Tesseract. Even in broad daylight. I was on the first week of my three weeks allotment of vacation time at the paper. So, early Friday afternoon, I dropped by the pub for a half-pint before taking in one of the matinees at the Mayfair. I was thinking maybe the latest Avengers or else something animated.
Published on Feb 5, 2015
by Phillip Gregg Chamberlain
Used time machine for sale. Again.
Published on Dec 5, 2019
by Justin Cole
The marquis read "ONE NIGHT ONLY" in fixed lettering. There was no need to put that on the variable signage and waste space. Everything here was a single performance. No artist ever came back to this venue; that was part of how the venue was so successful. If your favorite artist was playing here you had to see them for that show because you would get no other chance. Ever.
Published on Oct 12, 2017
by Sandra McDonald and Stephen D. Covey
When my father died, he left behind several hundred pounds of quartz (very valuable), a bin of meteorites (valuable for my classroom), two hundred classic science fiction magazines (maybe a collector would buy them), and a 1970 edition of the Handbook of Mathematical Functions edited by Abramowitz and Stegun (worthless). After the funeral, I returned to his apartment and found a burglar stealing the Abramowitz and Stegun.
Published on Apr 8, 2016
by Brandon Crilly
At 11:17 a.m. on my third day, I saw you across the quad
Published on Jan 2, 2018
by Leah Cypess
Many call me a visionary genius. To some of you, that is a good thing. Others deem me a reckless madwoman. To some of you, that is a bad thing.
Published on Aug 30, 2017
by Tony D'Aloisio
We'd been hearing about them for a while now. This latest in the new batch of renegades. Time terrorists. These were calling themselves the New Resistance. I had an appointment to be meeting one of them that afternoon. Somebody who was supposed to be a member (or former member).
Published on Jun 29, 2018
by KM Dailey
There she was, the little girl whose smile would make a ten-year journey worth it. Of course, if she found out who I really was, she would never forgive me. Sarah crouched beside the creek, dipping a long stick into the water, watching the ripples spread before the current swept them away. I smiled--I remembered doing that, as a child. The wind rustled wisps of her wavy brown hair, revealing and covering the soft, round outline of her cheek.
Published on Aug 2, 2019
by J. Robert DeWitt
He says he can bring your wife back. But on one condition. Then he leans across your kitchen table and whispers to you. "I won't do that," you say.
Published on Jul 1, 2015
by William R Eakin
I raised my hand that I was all right, but I was not and the crowd gathering around me knew it. A young woman, maybe twelve, had been the first to reach me. She grabbed the hand so I could pull up to a seated position. "You're bleeding," she said with a voice close, crisp, peppermint.
Published on Dec 23, 2016
by Louise Easter
Anne thinks: he never thought of me; not even when I needed him the most. Not even when she left. She observes the garden, the flowers. We should have killed the roses, she thinks. Arnie comes out onto the porch and sits in the adjacent rocking chair. He hands his wife a plate.
Published on Dec 30, 2019
by Mitchell Edgeworth
In 1980 my future self traveled back in time to speak to me. I was twenty years old, sitting on the front porch of my parents' house in Utica clipping my toenails. He was thirty years old, wearing a suit and tie. "Pay attention," he told me. "You're going to invest in these stocks. Circuit City. Eaton Vance. II Mark IV. Gap...."
Published on Aug 21, 2014
by Rhonda Eikamp
I lost my father when I was ten. His fault, everyone said. Shouldn't have left a boy of ten in charge of a machine like that. I'd lost my kid sister once already, a child's prank, the first day Pop ever allowed me near the dials, his hands that seemed too large for science guiding mine while Sis hovered in the background. When he'd left the room for a moment Sis dared me to send her somewhere. We found her again, none the worse for her day in an 11th-century Britain that had more to do with mud and skin diseases than it did with the princesses in pointy hats she'd imagined. Pop's settings were more complex. Comparative linguistics meant Jumping between continents and eras. "Track and field for the geeks," he told me before he crawled into the chamber that last time. "Never went out for the team in high school. Now I put the broad in broad jump." He winked. "If they could only see me now."
Published on Apr 23, 2013
by Fabio Fernandes
Attention all time-travelers coming here/now! We are transmitting on every frequency we can, using tachyons tightbeam technology.
Published on Apr 17, 2019
by Sam Ferree
"At no point in the past or future will your life have any bearing on anything, at all," the redheaded, twenty-something time traveler with a sleeve of tattoos tells me. "That's why it's okay to kill you."
Published on Jun 3, 2011
by Michael J.J. Flood
John liked how quiet the apocalypse was compared to civilization's peak. He was still on course to save humanity and all, but he found the silent world peaceful in a somber way. The house where he stood had blown over in the war, leaving just its foundation, and that stopped creaking a long time ago. He patted his right pocket for the fifth time, the flash drive that would save the world was still in there. It had been in there the other four times he checked too, but he had to make sure. The USB drive was only the size of a car key but weighed about eight-billion people. He patted it again.
Published on Apr 6, 2020
by Maurice Forrester
The Times, London, 1895 Public Notice: Offered for private sale is a gold watch engineered to allow the discriminating Gentleman the opportunity to experience time in a new way. This is a one-of-a-kind item. Serious inquiries only. Reply to Box 154 at this newspaper.
Published on Feb 27, 2017
by Ron S. Friedman
"Behold!" said Itami when he removed the cover to unveil the device in the middle of the hangar. "The time machine." Dr. Darren Guillet's eyes widened. The red-painted machine looked like a riding lawnmower. It had a plain looking control panel, one seat, and a large dish to its rear.
Published on May 9, 2011
by Shaenon Kelty Garrity
"On August 6, 1930," said Mona, "Justice Joseph Crater stepped into a taxi in New York City and was never seen again." "Are you still stalking the guy across the street?" said Daryl.
Published on Dec 11, 2012
by Ken Gerber and Brian Hirt
I'm forty-three, well beyond my years for needing a nanny. Yet Nanny is in the audience. Of course she is. After all, it is Nanny I am taking the fall for. And like all the times before, she has a plan. But first we wait. There are a few cases ahead of mine. "Case #1201. Miz Gravona," says the judge. I look at the docket and see that I'm Case #1203.
Published on Mar 14, 2014
by Marissa Harwood
For thirty solid seconds, I stood frozen. I did not breathe--I wouldn't be surprised if my heart neglected to beat. I felt the comforting presence of the other realities pressing at the back of my mind, but I pushed them away. A strange sensation filled me: cold, flicking down from my brain into my extremities like raindrops sliding down a windowpane. Then gasping. Great swallows of air. A sunburst in my chest. No. A supernova in my chest. My ribs a cage that couldn't hold the pieces together.
Published on Jul 17, 2017
by Michael Haynes
I watch you commit suicide for the fourth time. This time I almost have you talked out of it. But something happens, I don't know what. And the gun's in your mouth and you've pulled the trigger before I can even react. I scream out your name, but it's too late. You're falling to the floor and the wall behind you is a gory mess. Just like the other times.
Published on May 20, 2013
by Michael Haynes
When the two of you met that day, seemingly by chance, near the grocery checkout, there were three things Cameron couldn't tell you. The first was love. That since those days when you'd been much younger, when you'd both been grad students working in the labs, Cameron had been in love with you. Telling you then would have been frightening, leading to an unknown future where secrets had been revealed and rejection all too likely. Telling you now would be pointless, in so many ways.
Published on Jan 15, 2021
by Christopher Jon Heuer
"Dad, do you think time travel is possible?" Billy asked. "Like on Space Cadet Jake?" "Probably not the same way it happens on television." Father tousled his son's hair and adjusted the telescope. The sky was darkening rapidly. Venus and Jupiter blazed overhead. Even Mars was visible now. Father pulled the small plastic kitchen stool from the trunk of the car so Billy could stand on it and see through the eyepiece. Billy always liked Jupiter the best. Through Father's telescope you could see the bands, the four stars that were really Galilean moons, and sometimes even the Great Red Spot. Though it was only red in the pictures. Through the telescope the entire planet was yellow.
Published on Mar 28, 2016
by Pamela Horitani
I fell in love with a time traveler. Several years my senior, he stilled himself for hours, caressing my skin, gazing into my eyes, as if he could hardly believe my heart was his. "Why become a time traveler?" I once asked, concerned he would soon depart.
Published on Jul 20, 2022
by Chip Houser
Squatting on the curb in front of a boarded-up duplex, a woman rocks back and forth, arms crossed, arguing with herself. "You were driving too fast!"
Published on Aug 29, 2013
by Gareth D Jones
The people in my head seem to have been there for a very long time. I can't remember how long, because I can't remember anything but the cheery, pastel-painted hospital room I awoke in. The doctor, a large man with flamboyant moustache and grey hair, says I have amnesia. He is my oldest friend, in that he was there when I awoke and came to see me every day thereafter. I don't remember how many days it's been. Doctor Pulbarton, that's his name. I have a name too, apparently. Randolf. The doctor won't tell me my second name; I think he's hoping it will come back to me. The people in my head aren't really there, he says.
Published on Aug 12, 2013
by Kenneth S Kao
Mason leaned in to kiss Andrea. His first kiss ever. His heart pounded and he closed his eyes as her warm breath brushed his lips. He shivered, lifting frosty fingers from the cold porch, hesitating, not sure where to put them. Not on her, certainly. But it didn't matter anymore because his lips were on hers. A flush of heat tingled his face, every inch of himself like lightening. She let out a soft moan and he leaned in again.
Published on Jul 26, 2011
by Floris M. Kleijne
and maple syrup in my mouth. A diminished stack of pancakes sits between us on the kitchen table. I glance around me to estimate the time, a habit as deeply ingrained as blinking, or biting my nails. I haven't worn a watch or carried a cell phone in years; they don't last beyond the first shifting of the day. Sunlight strikes the wall behind Marjorie, not the hesitant yellow of morning, but full-bright. Lunch, then; our kitchen window faces southwest.
Published on Nov 27, 2020
by Andrea Kriz
Back when we thought we'd use the time machine for bringing back lost art, Mathilde wanted to find the last caricature of Jean Moulin. In the hot darkness of the workshop, she played me a speech--a poet bellowing over the wind. Single words came out to me. Visage. Cortège. Des ombres. Résistance. We listened to it while we hammered, cut, plied. When I collapsed, soot-covered, she crouched over me. "We can't possibly know what all those people tortured, tortured to death by the Gestapo thought in their last moments," Mathilde said. "But for Jean Moulin we do. Because he went through it once before. He was an artist." Not everyone can build a time machine. But when we started, no one knew that. People were willing to overlook our outlandish ideas because they thought there'd be plenty of other time machines to bring back scientific breakthroughs, lottery numbers, weaponry, vaccines. But the years passed and there was only ours and not that much else. "In 1940, he didn't even hesitate," Mathilde said. "Isn't that insane? He was a prefect. Rather than give in to the Nazis, rather than put his signature on a document that would dishonor his country, he picked up a piece of glass and cut his throat." We don't need any more art in the world, they said when they took our time machine. Certainly not lost art from the past. Everyone wants to make art these days and no one wants to do the hard work. We've got plenty of art and people screaming out and no resources. We don't need more art; we need a solution. So we'll find solutions and you and your dumb friend can make your own art. But not everybody can use a time machine. "In 1943, Jean Moulin was all of France," Mathilde said. "He was the head of the Resistance. The heart and brain. All beat up and bloody and not saying a word. Anonymous ashes they could never positively identify." "Look, where did you get all this from?" I ask her. "Isn't it kind of morbid?" "He wrote about what happened to him in 1940. He couldn't show the manuscript to anyone back then, so he had his sister bury it under a tree." Mathilde walked for three days brought back a seashell. It sounded like a fan being opened, a curtain being pulled aside. An action, once decided, simply being done. "Maybe he lied," I said. "About how brave he was." "I don't think so." We built the time machine out of twisted bicycle parts and coat hangers and a microwave and when they took us in, in different interrogation rooms, trying to figure out how, they asked me why. I tried to explain about the radiation scarring and the drowned but they didn't get it. That's why not everyone can build a time machine. When they left me alone, I leaned my head against the bars and thought of all those times Mathilde and I used to go walking. We lived in a town with no name. We walked across the roofs because there was nothing else left. Only pelicans and frozen waves. She'd asked so many questions. "What do you do when you survive the last day of your life?" "How do you go on doing your job after that?" "How you decide to keep fighting? Knowing, from personal experience, what comes at the end of the line. How do you risk that, knowing, without going insane?" "And how do you hold it together when the Gestapo actually gets you a second time?" "I wonder. Did he believe in God?" "Was he more or less afraid than the first time?" "What was he afraid of?" "Was he more or less brave?" When Jean Moulin couldn't speak anymore, his torturer gave him a pencil and a piece of paper. Five minutes to write down some names. His torturer must've felt triumphant when his prisoner began scribbling furiously. Then it started taking too long. He tore the paper out of Jean Moulin's hands. He'd drawn a caricature of his torturer. "Do you think that really happened?" "Was it a legend?" "Was it all made up or partially?" The time machine brought back: a text message. A handful of dried limes. A clothing line. When Mathilde died, they wouldn't tell me how, the time machine stopped working. When they put me in, it wouldn't turn on anymore. So why are you even here, they said. "What do you think it looked like?" Mathilde asked. "The caricature." "Probably not too good," I said. "If he'd been tortured to the point where he couldn't speak, he probably couldn't draw too good. It could've been a stick figure with eyes." But the more she spoke about it, the more I wanted to see it too. The gloomy climes of 1940s France. It was a miracle anyone lived back then. That anybody could've gone about their days, behind rain-washed walls still standing hundreds of years later. "It's a miracle that Jean Moulin's writing exists," Mathilde used to say, "or we'd have to travel back to get it too. No one would've known about the world he saw. Why did he write, why did his sister dig it up after the war?. Did he write it for her? Did he write it for you and me?" "Maybe he just wanted to get it off his chest." Mathilde frowned. She must've been thinking--there's no way someone writes something unless they want someone to read it. Even a bit of graffiti on a Gestapo cell wall. Even if they only see it after you're gone. Even if it's the only thing you've got to look at while you're waiting for the sun to rise, for the pain and silence to start again. "Was he constantly thinking of ways to die?" "Did he try to kill himself by banging his head against the walls?" "What do you think both of them thought when they saw each other?" "The Gestapo chief and the resistant." "The torturer and the artist." "The murderer--" We can't possibly know what someone thinks when they build a time machine. But I do because I already went through it once before. "Do you think he was insane?" "Do you think he was a coward?" "Do you think he was a martyr?" When I rebuilt the time machine, I thought about Jean Moulin. Only the idea of him. I drew a finger across my neck. I thought of a scar. The weight of a scarf to hide it all the time. I rebuilt the time machine out of suitcases, of syringes, and scrapped airplane parts. I built it out of scraps of paper, scraps of burned paper and stubbed pencils shoved into the hands of people who couldn't speak anymore. I built it out of (love). Then they couldn't hold me in a cell anymore. I flew across primordial oceans. I perched on a whale skeleton, risen out of frozen waves. I traveled to the Panthéon and laid white roses on the cenotaph of Jean Moulin. "We can't travel back for art we're not even sure exists," I told Mathilde back then. I regret it now. But that was before I knew how to build a time machine. Now I can rewrite the conversation: "Look," I tell Mathilde. And I walk through fields of sunflowers. I walk through an overgrown hillside, to a house someone bought before the war, because when the war's over, I don't know what I'll do, because I want to turn it into an artist's workshop, because when the war's over I'll just go there and relax. "Some art exists because it only exists a moment and only exists for one or two people's eyes. Some art exists because it never existed at all. Just the possibility. They're afraid of us, people like us, the kind of people who can build time machines, because we can erase them. They can erase the past but only we can erase the future. Because they're going to die. Because they don't understand what time is. That's what time is. The possibility--that something exists like the last caricature of Jean Moulin."
Published on Dec 31, 2021
by Terence Kuch
"Vacation In Sunny Future! Chat Now! Our Friendly Bots are Standing By!," said the screen. I wanted to go into the past from my perfectly ordinary life, but that was illegal because I might change something. Like all those stories where the world goes to hell because of some tiny stupid thing I might do back then. So instead, I took my vacation in the future, taking the chance that I’d get stuck there, like all those stories, and never be able to come back. But that risk I was willing to take. So I went into the future, spent two weeks hiding, and then came back. But now the world was different. Desperate, going to hell. That wasn’t supposed to happen. My brief absence from my perfectly ordinary life had changed--something.
Published on Nov 4, 2021
by Rich Larson
Jack left the restaurant with red wine blooming through his shirt and Kristine sobbing into napkins. Tears had run tracks down her makeup and he almost, almost felt bad for her. But he'd cried just as hard eight months from now. No, harder.
Published on Oct 10, 2013
by Rich Larson
“You can’t wear sunglasses while you’re working. This is Colonial-era New England. There are no sunglasses. Our visitors deserve an authentic experience, Katherine.” Kat got in one last eye roll from behind the safety of her sunglasses before she took them off and stowed them in her apron. “Sorry. Won’t happen again.”
Published on Mar 22, 2021
by Mary Soon Lee
0. Memorize the continuum index: Genghis-Mao-Curie-8AZ7. 1. Observe, but do not intervene. The path to dystopia is paved with good intentions. Never exit the time machine while in the past. Never communicate with prehodiernians.
Published on Apr 16, 2020
by Adam B Levine
That winter, she was getting old. She had already passed the age that she thought of as "young." Once she was past thirty, she no longer had that feeling of being a child in a grown-up body. (She had felt like an adult, but still had the vague feeling like she was faking it. She wondered if that feeling would ever go away.)
Published on Apr 12, 2016
by Ken Liu
Ten: Dad greeted me at the door, nervous. "Amy, look who's here?"
Published on Mar 19, 2012
by Rebecca Lodwick
There is no time. The last of it ran out a while ago. Or maybe it was longer. Or maybe it has not yet run out. We traveled through time, of course. First, we could skip forward and get to the good parts. Moving in the usual direction, but faster. That was easy. But what we really wanted to do was to jump back and fix the bad parts. Much harder. All of our best minds were working for years. Or maybe it was days. Or maybe they have not yet started.
Published on Jun 4, 2020
by J Mark Matters
Declaration of Armistice in the Time War All human combatants must read from top to bottom.
Published on Jul 16, 2019
by Andrew Neil McDonald
"We exist within a glitch of the space-time continuum," he said, hands flailing, "and are doomed to relive this exact moment, this exact conversation, forever." Marty laughed. Of course this would happen. All he had wanted was to take a walk through the Myriad Gardens: get some air in his lungs and his mind off Celia, and the next thing he knew this old codger was in his face talking nonsense.
Published on Jul 28, 2016
by Christopher McGrane
Burke looked less nervous than when he had first contacted her. Now that the whistle-blower had committed himself, he seemed calmer, almost jovial. "Before I worked for the Government, I worked in advertising," he said, while she confirmed that the car-park in which they stood was deserted.
Published on Dec 28, 2020
by Melissa Mead
The man burst into Jayon's antique store the instant it opened. Actually, he ran into the door first, because he was too impatient to wait for the scanner to register his presence. He plunged toward the counter, waving an advertising holosheet at Jayon. "Is this ad true?" he gasped. "Do you really sell time machines? Actual working ones?"
Published on Jul 15, 2021
by Hans Hergot
"Do you recognize me?" Thomas glanced at the man who bumped into him. The cheap bottle of wine bought to celebrate his promotion nearly slipped out of its brown paper bag. Thomas juggled it and then looked again. The man standing in front of him had unmistakable bright blue hair.
Published on Jun 4, 2013
by Wendy Nikel
The Pihsecaps speeds through cloud layers--bright-dark-bright-dark--until finally, with a stutter of the engine, we burst through the haze. Finn swears. He blinks and straightens himself up in his seat, obviously shaken. "Shhh--" I grit my teeth and pull on the controls to adjust our pitch. "Enough. This is the last time I'm putting my neck on the line for some magical alien artifact. After this job, we're sticking to precious metals and gemstones only, or I'm taking my ship and striking out on my own. Swear it. Now." "You don't mean that, Merida. Just think about it: with a chronolith, we can always be one step ahead of the other scavengers and collectors. All these abandoned planets, filled with treasures, and if someone beats us to a find, we'll just reverse time and get there first." He pulls a pair of granola bars from the bag and holds them out to me. "Looks like there's only one chocolate one left. I'd arm-wrestle you for it, but--" "I don't care." I'm too busy flying to argue. As we reach the planet's tree-level, a horde of drones blinks on our radar, and from the sound of their blasters, they're none too pleased with us. It takes all my concentration to dart and dive and evade them. "This chronolith could be our ticket to the big-time, you know," Finn muses. "No more living payoff to payoff. We could fix up the Pihsecaps. Give her some upgrades. You'd like that, wouldn't you?" "Be quiet. I need to concentrate." We hover, just off the ground, the air currents causing the ship to wobble. "And buckle up. 49 percent of fatal accidents occur during takeoff or landing." Finn slides into his seat and mutters to himself as he digs through our supply bag--probably for another snack. The engines roar, bending all the nearby foliage outward, away from the Pihsecaps. I flip the switch on the control console. Everything is silent. Too silent. I don't like it. "It's 10:20," I say, checking my watch. "At the rate they were flying, we've only got two or three minutes, tops, before those drones catch up." In the airlock, Finn struggles with his terra-suit. "I can see now how those defensive drones have managed to outlast the planet's inhabitants. Brutal little things." I'd parked the _Pihsecaps_ on the edge of the forest, hoping that the shadows of the nearby trees would shield us from the drones' view. So far, it seems to have worked. "We're close," Finn says, checking his GPS as he pushes through the overgrowth. "Come on." We run along the forest path. Each swarm of alien bugs sounds like the drones' distant buzzing. I slap at the insects, pushing myself to keep pace with my brother's long strides. The ancient ruins are so overgrown, it's hard to distinguish forest from city, and it's only after we rush through the half-crumbled stone archway that I realize we must've crossed the boundary. "This way." Finn points ahead. Drones dive around the crumbling courtyard surrounding the chronolith's pedestal. They fire their blasters at us, obviously programmed to prevent us from taking the artifact. We huddle behind Finn's deflector shield, waiting for the right moment to make our move. I check my watch. It's 10:10. But that can't be right, can it? I hold it up to my ear. It's still ticking. Finn jerks the shield this way and that, deftly evading the blasts. "There! To the left!" I point at an oncoming drone. Finn pulls the shield to the right, and the laser singes the grass mere inches from my feet. "You're not listening to me," I say. "Again. You never listen to me. You act like we're still kids. Like you're still the big brother who gets to boss me around, just because I'm a couple years younger." What I wouldn't give, sometimes, to have things reversed. For him to listen to me for once. "As soon as we get back to the Pihsecaps, you'll be fine." "Why would you even say something like that?" Finn can be oblivious sometimes, but he isn't usually so dismissive of my feelings. I wish I could storm off, but there's nowhere to go. At least not without being shot by blaster fire. "You're just tense because we're being chased by alien robots." "You don't feel that?" "What?" he asks, finally noticing my unease. I've always been more perceptive than Finn, but it still surprises me that he can be so unaware of the weird, unsettling feeling that's suddenly come over this place. It's the chronolith. It has to be. That's what's to blame for this awful feeling in my gut. Finn had said the artifact messes with time--twisting it, dilating it, reordering it. My temple throbs; whatever the chunk of rock is doing, my brain doesn't like it. It's making it hard to concentrate. I stare anxiously at my wrist. 10:02. Finn's still maneuvering the shield this way and that, blocking the drones' laser blasts, but I can't tear my eyes from the steady, rhythmic blink of my watch. 10:01. "There's something very weird going on here, Finn." Something that's just beyond my comprehension, that slips from my mind like sand in an hourglass. I glance down at my watch. "What are you talking about?" Finn asks, grabbing my arm and urging me on beneath the cover of his deflector shield. "We just need to get we came for and get out of here before we get killed. Now go!" My fingers close around the chronolith. As I tear it from the pedestal, the stone zaps me with a jolt of electricity. I look at my watch--10:00--and, for that brief second before I drop the artifact into my shoulder bag, I see the beginning and the end of all this and realize I've been seeing it wrong the whole time. This isn't the end; it's the beginning, and everything I thought came before was still yet to happen... Would start happening now, here, with this instant. "Time's running backward." -BEGIN HERE-
Published on Nov 12, 2021
by George Nikolopoulos
Madame Delphine enters the cabin, sits down in the bucket seat and puts her hands on the controls. I look at her with admiration. She's not much to the eye; a grey-haired little lady with circular glasses, a white three-piece suit, and the black gloves she never takes off. And yet -- I may be the brains behind the time travel machine, but she's the true hero of the Resistance. None of us would wish to be in her shoes; traveling back in time to kill her own son.
Published on Sep 16, 2020
by Kat Otis
On my eighteenth birthday, I was kicked out of foster care with a duffel bag full of second-hand clothes and a battered envelope addressed to Elle. I hadn't been Elle since I was six, which my mom would've known if she hadn't abandoned me. But at least she'd sent me a birthday card this year and I couldn't bring myself to trash it unopened. I went to work, dropped my junk in the staff room, and poured endless cups of coffee until it was time for my break. I ducked into the back and retrieved my card. Then, of course, I wasted most of my break staring at the envelope. The postmark was from someplace called Goodyear, Arizona, wherever that was.
Published on Jan 15, 2019
by Kurt Pankau
Grace heard the knock on the door, but she did not recognize the man on the other side. He wore a crisp dark suit and close-cropped hair. He had a vague, forgettable face and a bland tie. Everything about him screamed, "Eraser-man." The last time one of those had arrived on her doorstep, it had been... well, she couldn't remember exactly what happened. She only had the vague memory of someone that she had loved disappearing forever. A brother, maybe?
Published on Apr 8, 2013
by Tim Patterson
The first time I folded space, I did so to cheat at hide-and-seek. It was purely by accident, and despite winning the game rather quickly, I didn't really understand what I'd done, not yet. It was several years before I found that I could move through my folds in space, that they were doors and not just windows. I discovered this when I was fifteen and quite accidentally fell through my bedroom wall and into the garden beneath Jennifer Milner's bedroom window. Partly in shock, I walked home two kilometers in my pyjamas. I was lucky to pay for the lesson with only a sleepless night and a few short-lived rumours at school.
Published on Nov 3, 2010
by Kevin Pickett
I watched the boy lift the faux-fur lined hood of his Parka coat up around his red-cheeked face and pull the weather-beaten door closed behind him. The wind pushed against his tiny frame as he hurried along the sloping grass embankment outside the short row of council houses. Twice the cruel wind whipped about him, and he stumbled like a drunkard at midnight, but he righted himself and began the hard trek up the hill beside the Priory ruins. Those familiar sandstone remains of tumbled ancient structures were like half-buried bones rising from the grass along the cliff top bluff; broken and twisted by the spite of time. I felt the cruel January chill, though my encapsulation field protected me from the atmosphere beyond my enviro-suit. I could taste the salt on the air as the waves crashed onto Haven beach, though my lungs breathed pure filtered air from the breather tanks on my back. As I watched the boy wearily clamber the winding path beside the ancient cliff, pulling his school bag up onto his shoulder, I turned away. I did not need to see any more.
Published on Jul 24, 2013
by Sarah Pinsker
The sounds of half-tuned electric guitars blasted from the doorways of Manny's and Sam Ash, dueling across the grimy patch of 48th St known as Music Row. Magda waited until the group of time tourists she was following had turned the corner, then plunged her arm into the nearest garbage can. Her hand encountered something slimy. "Ugh," she said, not for the first time that day. She wished she could wear gloves, but they weren't part of her new uniform.
Published on Jul 18, 2013
by Tony Pisculli
I was born in 1992.
Published on Jan 25, 2018
by Beth Powers
The future invaded on a Friday afternoon in the middle of winter. Without warning, buildings arose amid intersections and metallic pathways gleamed into existence above forests. Toys that had not yet been dreamed arrived in childrens rooms while their parents frowned at unexpected appliances and furniture. Going about their business bundled against the cold, people nodded to newcomers wearing flatscreen jackets and hover shoes. Within the hour, scientists clamored on televisions and newly materialized holoprojectors. Ruptures in space timequantum [gobbledygook]not linear, they cried as the snow began to fall, Pockets of [scientific jargon]the future is bleeding through to the present But most people just pulled their coats closed against the cold, ignoring the holos and screens. Patches of invasion spread like steamrolling turtles throughout the late afternoon and early evening while people knocked on doors, familiar or not, to get out of the wind. They gathered with family and strangers while the world shifted and changed. Turkey and pie wafted throughout one old house to mingle with the smells of food that had not yet been invented. As she had for years, Grandma shut off the television at six oclock sharp while Grandpa rounded up the grandchildren, not noticing (or not caring) that a handful of them wore jetpacks and chrome. He herded any stragglersfrom the future or the presentinto the dining room. At the center of the massive table, hand-polished wood came together with industrial steel. The family and their unexpected guests didnt seem to notice as they shuffled around, sorting out chairs and place settings. Sweet potatoes were traded for uninvented green mush until plates were piled high with tradition and the future. END
Published on Jun 2, 2016
by Ken Poyner
I clean the time machines. It is a brute labor job, but unionized, so the pay and benefits are not half bad. Particularly for someone with little education and, like me, a record holding a few early abrasions with the law. What can I say? I had an interesting youth. Mostly the job is scratching stray seconds and the occasional minute out of the rigging, sucking up a misplaced nanosecond that somehow got into the cockpit. I have been told stories of people finding entire days wrapped around a stabilizer manifold, but I am not so sure that I believe it.
Published on Nov 5, 2015
by Tim Pratt
For the musically-inclined tourist, ancient Rome is a must.
Published on Sep 6, 2010
by A. Rector
"Time-traveling's cheap and easy. It's space-traveling that ain't. "See, our molten mudball pirouettes around a star orbiting a galaxy hurtling who cares where. Go a day back in time, you slide along a single temporal thread, not the three dimensions. So 24 hours ago, the planet's 30 million miles thataway, and you're here feelin' silly in yesterday as the vacuum o' space sucks on your eyeballs. Can't move umpteen times FTL? Then time-travel's useless... for its intended purpose. Lucky for you, I'm resourceful. "So, if you'll hand Bludger here your payment, rest assured no one will ever find that body."
Published on Dec 2, 2021
by Melanie Rees
"Jordan, it's over here." Ella stood on the banks of the river. Jordan descended the rocky slope to stand by Ella.
Published on Dec 8, 2011
by Dani Ripley
"Did it work?" I call down into the gravity well, which is really just an 8 x 5 x 4 hole we dug up in Billy's backyard. No answer from the cylinder. It sits in the center on its side, gleaming dully, its forward lights blinking. We installed the lights to show when the machine is running. Also to make it look cooler. I consider going down, but before I can move, the cylinder's hatch cracks open. A slim white hand emerges, grasps the hatch door, and shoves it aside. Then my best friend Billy pulls himself up and out, unfolding his lanky form from the tiny space within. "Well, did it work?" I shout again. Billy glances over his shoulder and gives me a half-assed thumbs-up before sliding down to land next to his machine; then he begins making his way up the side of the hole to where I stand. When he nears the top, I reach down and grab his wrist, helping him climb the last few feet.
Published on Oct 7, 2014
by Michael Adam Robson
This will be our last meeting, they said. It's important that your history unfolds as it's supposed to. Last meeting? we asked. Have you been here before? Where do you come from?
Published on Oct 18, 2017
by Rachel Rodman
It was a civil war of the most bloody, brutal sort, not East vs. West, or brother vs. brother. But rather: Past vs. Future. They (the Future) had a staggering technological advantage. Our skies were filled with weapons that we did not understand; our cities pillaged and brutalized by invasions for which we could devise no shields. But our position gave us another kind of advantage. Just one, really. So, for there was no other choice: none at all.... We exploited it.
Published on Jan 11, 2021
by Alice M. Roelke
Pack extra unmentionables. In the future, many women clothe themselves scantily. It is impossible to get a proper foundation garment; most clothiers have no knowledge of whalebone corsets or bustles. Stay in the prescribed routes. Certain areas of the future are safe for time travelers because the natives try to preserve history by pretending it is the past. Here, travelers can blend into the future with least discomfort.
Published on Aug 11, 2011
by Marian Rosarum
***Editor's Note: This is a work of fiction. Please don't attempt time travel in this way*** The best way to time travel is to fall.
Published on Jul 9, 2015
by Melody Rose
The first time you do it, you fear you've gone insane. You trip over a pile of clothes you meant to put away and become displaced, watching as your phantom twin enters and trips in a synchronous motion. With an intake of breath you're back, shivering on the floor, running fingers over familiar worn patches in the carpet, and swearing never to do it again. But you do. The next time you’re laughing with friends and you sip your drink a little too fast. You inhale on a giggle and cough, spraying Ellen, the newest and most tentative addition to your circle, with body-temperature soda. You watch as the scene plays out again like a scratched record. Sip, cough, spray, repeat until you look away and are back in your seat, apologizing profusely, dabbing at Ellen with cheap napkins, and ignoring the rising flush creeping over your face.
Published on Mar 1, 2021
by Josh Rountree
,***Editor's Note: Adult Story, Adult Language*** Before this place becomes a bowling alley, a rock and roll dive, a karaoke bar, a Tex-Mex joint, before this place becomes the spot where the only girl I'll ever love escapes the world, this place is a roller rink, a hangout for middle school kids mostly too afraid to do more than hold hands as they take another unsteady spin together, maybe sneak a kiss in the wash of red, blue, green strobe lights. Maybe not. I'm really not sure, anymore. The roller rink is where I desperately want to be. I know that much. But this place has a whirlwind nature and I often find myself sucked in by the music and the lights and taken to other whens that aren't nearly as great as this one.
Published on Jan 17, 2014
by Karliana Sakas
We were trapped in the lobby of the building, confronted with some obstinate robots. I tried every language I knew, but they just stood there and refused to explain themselves. The only communication they offered was a sign: pay here to exit.

Pay with what and where? Would we be vaporized if we could not pay?
Published on May 9, 2022
by Katherine Claire Sankey
The nebula was stunning. Suzy leaned further onto the metal safety bar, her forehead nearly pressing against the observation window. It was like waves of pink smoke had been painted across a star-studded sky. This, she told herself, might just be worth the pain of the past. This and maybe... Suzy sensed the elbow next to hers, and looked up. Adele stood there, grinning stupidly, her electric purple hair perfectly matching the vista behind her. "Wow, you're really enjoying the view." Adele said. "It's incredible!" Suzy replied, "I've never seen anything like it!" Adele raised an eyebrow. "Missed the school tour did you?" "Huh?" Suzy blinked, "Schools come here?" "Yeah, of course!" Adele laughed, "The schools come every year. You must have seen it before?" Suzy looked away, her fingers gripping the cool metal. Damn it. Had she had been caught out? She'd wanted to go on two, maybe three more dates, before she'd told her. "Suzy? What's wrong?" Adele interrupted her panic, "Sweetie?" Suzy took a breath. She didn't want to do this. She really didn't want to do this. "I haven't seen it before. Ever. I've... I've never been to school here." She said quietly, "In fact, I wasn't born on this station, or even in this century." She turned and tried to look at Adele, but her eyes automatically dodged to the floor. "I'm actually from 2024. I was cryogenically frozen when I was twenty-two. Cancer. I'm--" "A popsicle?" Adele said, eyes widening. Suzy winced. Popsicle. She hated that word. It was always spoken with a hint of pity, or sometimes even disgust. Despite successfully finishing the government adjustment program and attaining her 23rd-century citizenship, she was still considered lesser. People spoke slower to her. Treated her like a child. Worse, some exclaimed that she was barbaric and shouldn't be allowed in society at all! Just because she'd eaten meat and driven diesel vehicles. Some people questioned her role in historical events, especially the climate crisis. Like she had been personally responsible for not halting global warning. It was dreadful. Finding friends outside of the adjustment program had been hard, but dating had been harder. She was considered too much work, too different, or just too socially embarrassing for most people. After all who'd want to introduce a popsicle as their partner? It would be like someone in the 2020s hooking up with an 18th-century farmer. Suzy prepared herself for the pity, the questions, the downright hostility. Most biases had been considered eradicated, but apparently popsicle hate was acceptable. After all, they had lived in backwards, savage times. They were probably horrible, ignorant people, right? "Are you crying?" Adele asked softly. Suzy opened her eyes. She hadn't even realized she'd shut them, or that hot tears had started building up in the corners. "No," She gulped. Suddenly, Adele was hugging her. "What are you doing?" Suzy sniffed. "Hugging my girlfriend." Adele said. Suzy's heart flipped. "But... I'm a dumb popsicle! I grew up in an era of stupidity! I--" "Just because you grew up in a different place and time doesn't matter to me. You're a human being. A human being who has had to adapt to a completely new world. That's a scary, difficult, brave thing to do." "So, you're not dumping me?" Suzy croaked. Adele took her hand and grinned. "Nah, you're too cute." Suzy laughed, relief pouring through her. "Come on," whispered Adele, "Let's go get an ice cream."
Published on Sep 29, 2021
by Peter A Schaefer
"Did you know the Earth formed through planetary accretion during the formation of the Solar System approximately four-point-five billion years ago?" These words greeted Nome as she stepped out into the basement laboratory, pulling her workplace-mandatory goggles on over her short brown hair. Wires and cables crisscrossed the room, taped to the floor or wall, and hung from the ceiling like technological vines. "Uh, sure," she said. "Second grade, right between state capitals and long division. Why?"
Published on Jan 13, 2015
by Eva Schultz
Probably the weirdest thing to come from the commoditization of time travel is the candy. There's the gummy candy with cartoon dinosaurs on the label that says it can show you the Stone Age, though usually all you end up seeing is empty tundra. Then there are those chocolate caramels with the art deco labels--they leave you seeing women with bob cuts and men driving rumbly Fords, at least for a few moments while you're chewing. Then as the caramel dissolves in your mouth, you watch the world flash with GIs, sock hoppers, tie-dyed protesters, big hair and shoulder pads, and maybe for a split second, the early 21st century blinks in and out a few times before you're all the way back.
Published on Dec 27, 2017
by Amanda Grace Shu
For my Earthdad Each time he comes home, his face changes. He is an old man at her birth, a youth at her third birthday party, and a fifty-something when he walks her to her first day of kindergarten. She hears the adults mutter about how Clare's mother can't keep a husband longer than a year, and Clare can barely suppress her giggles. You don't get it. All those men--they're all one husband.
Published on Mar 23, 2016
by Alex Shvartsman
"This wasn't at all what I expected," said Helen of Troy. The man behind the counter nodded, an expression of professional empathy pasted onto his face.
Published on Jun 6, 2013
by Alex Shvartsman
Her expression tells you everything even before she speaks, and your world comes undone. Then she confirms it: she tells you that her mission is a go. She is so excited, her face is radiant with possibility, and her eyes sparkle with the light of distant stars. You manage to smile, and it is the hardest thing you've ever had to endure.
Published on Nov 3, 2014
by Alex Shvartsman
1. Act natural. You don't want to give them a reason to suspect you. When they realize the data card is missing, somber men with humorless eyes will invade the lab. They'll interrogate everyone, even the purebloods. Keep your head down and don't draw attention to yourself. As far as they're concerned, you're not bright or motivated enough to be a Party member, let alone to break the encryption and steal the data. You're almost entirely beneath their notice. When they fail to discover the thief, they'll drag your boss away. He isn't so bad, considering, but someone has to be held responsible. His removal is as unfortunate as it is inevitable.
Published on Jul 31, 2017
by Marge Simon
Their apartment building was very old. He had tended it a long time, knew every inch of brick and mortar. In the basement, the pulse of its heart. He kept it alive, though no other tenants will need it now. He kept it alive for this. Her body waited at his feet, wrapped in clean linen. His bride would never wish to be piled outside with so many other corpses, so close together.

For him, she exists a lifetime ago, a place on a green riverbank where she'd unwind her amber braid to lie with him. He recalled the day they decided to elope to America. It was the same day they first saw the hourglass. It was a magical afternoon, the sun filtering through the foliage had turned the rocks silver. Rising in the river mist, an hourglass appeared. It was balanced precariously on a stone, the sand at the top was going down unusually fast. When he reached to pick it up, it vanished.
Published on Oct 3, 2022
by Julian Mortimer Smith
Professor Jennifer Magda-Chichester stood on the stage of Stockholm Concert Hall, smiling proudly into a sea of tuxedos: "It is a great honor to receive this most prestigious of awards," she said, a cluster of ubiquitous nano-microphones reproducing her every word in perfect fidelity, in the minds of a million listeners worldwide. "A very great honor, the greatest that any scientist can ever hope to achieve. I am very proud of my team, and of course I am indebted to all the brilliant minds who laid the foundation for my work. If I have seen further than others it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants. "And yet, my near-perfect happiness on this day is tainted by the tiniest speck of regret. I am an old woman and, as you all know by now, the device can only travel backwards through time. I therefore stand here before you today in the full knowledge that I will never live to see my invention reach its full potential. I can only imagine all the wonderful uses that future generations will find for the thing. Did Alan Turing imagine all the benefits of today's sentient quantum computers? Did Neil Armstrong imagine the wonders of Luna Colony Alpha?"
Published on Sep 19, 2012
by Lesley L. Smith
The front window of the diner had a nice view of the playground and that wasn't pervy because I never interacted with or talked to the kids--especially the little blonde girl. In fact, I never interacted with anyone, at least I tried not to. I needed to kill myself before I did that. "Ma'am? Warm up your coffee?" the middle-aged waitress said. I deliberately didn't look at her.
Published on Oct 23, 2012
by Alex Sobel
She pays, gladly. Of course. It was his money, anyway. Using it to see him again seems right, something wiped clean, fractions evened out, remainders made whole.

Published on Sep 7, 2022
by Alex Sobel
I slip back

to my ten-year-old self, the hospital. A shallow inquiry to Mom, as if to say something palpable, to be retained: Why do you have to leave me? Why now? Her lips move, a gentle separation, but hold a wordless tenure.
Published on Oct 24, 2022
by Sean Soravia
Protocol is clear. I can't tell anyone what happened after I landed, not ever. Letting slip even the smallest detail could change the future. They chose me because I can keep a secret. I can keep my mouth shut. At least this secret won't have to be kept long. One month. That's all it's going to take. They would want to know but who am I to say that would be better? I'm the low man. I do what I'm told and above all else, I keep my mouth shut.
Published on Jul 6, 2020
by Julion J Soto
I ran hard from Billings Place to the East 2nd school yard and saw the sniper at the gate, shooting me in the gut, where I fell, died. It hadn't happened like this before; coming back, I'd changed things. I'd been a survivor of the massacre. Shit. I had no time to think about the ramifications of this change. Like a ton of bricks, I threw myself at the sniper before my kids were among the first casualties splattered all over the green top. I severed his spine with a bowie knife. When he fell forward I kicked his assault rifle away from his body, and grabbed my kids and ran from the yard, pulling Sarita and Manny hard behind me. Hysterical, they looked up at me, "Dad? B-but?" I'd just died in front of them, but here I was, gray haired, 15 years older, saving them.
Published on Nov 20, 2014
by Morgan Spraker
I tell Jack Henderson's story like it's a fairytale. He was, after all, a prince of sorts, and depending on who you ask, I could play a wealth of roles. You could even say it's truly my story.
Published on Dec 13, 2019
by Paul Starkey
For a long time, Wren thought fondly about the time she watched her husband lose his virginity. Of course, he hadn't been her husband then, but as was tradition for those planning on marriage they paid a few months' salary to take a temporal excursion back to view intimate moments from history, and in their case they'd chosen to take a peek at the popping of each other's cherry.
Published on Dec 13, 2018
by Sarah Stasik
Nadia woke in the time spiral. "Time is only a line, a curve, a wave of the hand, and its course is moved," said the man with the silver finger. But that was years ago, eons ago, minutes ago. She no longer knew.
Published on Sep 14, 2011
by John E Stith
Bob Dinser was at his desk, working through another annoying customer-complaint case file, when a sparkly blue portal opened right in the entrance to his cubicle. Instantly a wiry, scantily clad man stepped into Bob's office. He stood right next to Bob, who scooted his chair back.
Published on Sep 11, 2020
by Eric James Stone
Welcome to the Kronoship(r) Frequently Asked Questions page, where you can find the answers to any questions you might have about owning a Kronoship. (If your question is not answered here, please contact Kronoship Customer Support so we can go back in time and add it before you got to this page, thus ensuring the answer is here when you look for it.)
KRONOSHIP PURCHASE Q: How much does it cost to buy a Kronoship? A: Retail price for a Kronoship is $1,999,999. However, thanks to our special in-house financing, you can own a Kronoship at zero cost to you: We'll give $9999 in genuine pre-1980 cash, and you simply travel back to 1980 and invest that money in specially chosen stocks. Sign the stock certificates over to us and deposit them in a specific safe deposit box at what will eventually become our bank, and you'll own your Kronoship free and clear. Q: When can I take delivery of a Kronoship? A: The sale of time travel vehicles to the general public was made illegal in the United States by the Prohibition Against Sale of Temporal Inventions and Machines Enabling Act (aka PASTIME Act) on June 3, 2039. The PASTIME Act will not be repealed until March 16, 2067. Therefore, you can legally take delivery of your Kronoship on any day before June 3, 2037 or after March 16, 2067. Time travel to your chosen date is provided free of charge for purchasers.
KRONOSHIP OPERATION Q: How does the Kronoship work? A: Simply enter the Kronoship and shut the door. Once everyone is securely seated, the Kronoship will automatically take you to the time and location of your destination. Q: How do I select the time and location I want to go to? A: You don't need to. Each Kronoship comes pre-programmed with all the time-space coordinates you will have ended up going to during your ownership of the vehicle. Q: What if I want to change the destination time and location? A: If you changed your destination, that change is already part of the pre-programming.
TROUBLESHOOTING Q: What do I do if my Kronoship breaks down? A: An official Kronoship technician will show up before your Kronoship breaks down and will replace the part that was about to break. Q: What do I do if I get stuck in another time? A: The Kronoship will automatically block you from going to that time, so you won't get stuck there. Q: What do I do if I die in another time? A: If you're dead, there's nothing you can do. However, since the Kronoship will automatically block you from going to that time, you won't die there.
EFFECTS ON THE TIMELINE Q: If I go back in time and kill dinosaurs or a prehistoric butterfly, will that cause the wrong party to win an election in my home time? A: No. Fortunately, the timeline is highly resilient to major changes, and will "bounce back" to normal when you return to your home time. Q: Can I go back in time and kill Hitler (or another genocidal dictator)? A: Of course. Many people find it highly therapeutic. Feel free to do it as often as you like. Unfortunately, the timeline is highly resilient to major changes, and will "bounce back" to normal when you return to your home time. Q: If I go back in time and kill my grandfather (or another ancestor) will it cause a paradox that prevents me from being born? A: No. On the grounds of basic human decency, however, we recommend against such a course of action unless your grandfather (or another ancestor) was Hitler (or another genocidal dictator). Q: Can I go to the future and steal some technology and bring it back and make a fortune? A: Thank you for not asking about going back in time to kill someone or something! The short answer is yes. The long answer is: most future technology is so interdependent on other available technology that stealing an idea and trying to develop it in your home time will probably not work. However, if it does work, that means you invented it, so you didn't actually steal the idea.
SATISFACTION GUARANTEE Q: If I'm not satisfied with my Kronoship, can I return it? A: We guarantee you'll be satisfied with your Kronoship purchase. If you were not satisfied, we won't have sold it to you.
Published on Aug 30, 2022
by Ian Randal Strock
The history of human achievement is the history of saying "if only we had known." If only we had known DDT is dangerous to mammals. If only we had known asbestos causes lung cancer. If only we had known lead is a neurotoxin. But now I've been living the opposite. If only I had never known. If only I had never known, I could have been happy. If only I had never known that humanity never learns, that the average human will steadfastly refuse to be an ant, that he can only ever be the grasshopper.
Published on Nov 16, 2017
by Riley Tao
The girl who claims to be my daughter stares at me pale-faced, wide-eyed, one palm shading her eyes against my car's headlights, the other outstretched as if that would stop me from running her over with a twitch of my foot. The wending, midnight road is empty save for the two of us. "You can't be my daughter," I growl. "Just listen--" "You can't be my daughter," I repeat, "because right now, my wife is about to give birth to our only child. And if you make me miss this--" "You want her to be Riley," she whispers. I freeze, one hand on the little blue notebook in my pocket. "How--" "They found it. In that journal of yours. You had wanted to name me something American, and Mom wanted something Irish, and she said you used to joke about which culture had the ugliest names, but you must've changed your mind near the end...." The girl swallows, fists clenched. "How did you know that?" I ask. "Let me in. Let me drive." "Just tell me," I say. "You have to get to the hospital anyway, right? Let me come." I sigh and unlock the door. "Who are you, really?" I ask her, as I start driving again. "I told you. I'm your daughter. From--from the future." I grunt. "And if I asked you for the truth this time?" "It's the truth. God's name. Slow down. Please." "You've already slowed me down enough," I snap back. "No, Dad, please, just let me drive." She bites her lip as I accelerate into a curve. I turn to say, "I'm not your da--" "Dad, look out!" She wrenches the wheel, but the car's front tires bite empty air-- --and I know why the time traveler looks at me like she's seen a ghost.
Published on Feb 3, 2022
by Don Tassone
I fell into a coma after my accident in 1972. A few days ago, I woke up. How I’ve managed to stay alive, I don’t know. For nearly 50 years, as I lay in bed, I wasn’t able to see or speak or move. But I heard everything, and I followed what was happening in the world. When I awoke, I asked my nurse why she wasn’t wearing a mask. “A mask?” she said. “For Covid.” “For what?” I tried to explain, but she seemed oblivious. Maybe it was the shock of me waking up. Over the next two days, I talked to a slew of doctors. They quizzed me about what I claimed I’d heard while I was unconscious. I told them everything. I told them about Watergate and two presidential impeachments, the Internet and cell phones, 9/11 and Covid-19. They seemed not to know about any of these things. They seemed skeptical of everything I said. I wished someone would come to my aid. I wished my parents were still around. It still made me sad that I’d missed their funerals. It made me sad that my friends stopped coming by to see me decades ago. I’ve been alone a long time. I heard voices in the hallway outside my door. I heard my name. Finally, a doctor came in and told me they’d decided to send me away for observation and “proper treatment.” My new room is nearly bare. There’s a calendar on my wall. I stare at it a lot. It’s for the year 1972. It looks new.
Published on Jul 14, 2022
by Steve Rasnic Tem
My father always said the rich have a responsibility. They create possibility. He's gone fifty years now, but sometimes I see him standing in his tailored Savile Row suit on the other side of a veil of tears.

If she had stayed home that day.
Published on Apr 8, 2022
by Karin Terebessy
The time traveler was back. Tall and thin, standing in front of a low hanging clothesline, flapping with yellowed linens. He was fifty--or sixty--years old, with a gray wash of stubble on his angular cheeks. But he stood straight and strong, in a soldier's uniform. Well muscled and lean. Eyes sharp, dark blue, squinting as he surveyed the ghetto. Leo recognized him immediately.
Published on Nov 1, 2016
by Rhys Thomas
The Creationists rejoiced: the theory of Evolution was dead. Buried in sediments seventy million years deep--the time of the dinosaurs--the unmistakable fossil of a human being. Studied, tested, corroborated, error-corrected, it was confirmed by fifty-four renowned academic institutions and counting. The finding was not disputed.
Published on Aug 31, 2015
by T. M. Thomas
"I'm an inventor. I had an idea about ways to make light without fires." "Intriguing. I could be a patron for that, I'm sure. And tell me, what of the foundry you have that's making rifled firearms a few years too early?" He moved his hand while he was talking, but not toward his cup. This time it kept moving, toward the velvet smoking jacket he was wearing. Out of the tiny chest pocket he pulled a little rectangle and slid it across the table. I was just staring at him.
Published on Nov 2, 2010
by Andy Tubbesing
The Philosopher came again to the worn steps curving up Academy Hill. The slate walk stretched away before her, circling the school. She sometimes walked this path for hours, puzzling out problems. "Hey," the Artisan shouted, "Wait up."
Published on Dec 2, 2019
by James Van Pelt
I'd assembled my time travel device of circuits, microchips, and clever wiring; but the gods or magic or fate controlled it. Perhaps an inventor who loves to read puts too much of himself into his creations. Or perhaps a literati who engineers cannot separate his own blended DNA. When I activated it the first time, a blink, a shudder, and a screech wrenched me from my control chair, and I found myself standing in a dark room. Had I gone forward or back? Light leaked through a barred window, revealing a ragged, bedridden man, his eyes sunk deep in his head, gasping in what surely must have been his ending breaths. Beside him sat a second man, dressed in a soiled jacket, writing by candlelight at a small table.
Published on Feb 7, 2013
by Omar Velasco
2274: Someone chases you. You steal the time machine. You are going to become the best scientist in history. You travel 2042: While physicist Douglas Wells lectures, you enter the auditorium and correct the Wells Equation. Thanks to this, time travel is now theoretically correct. Your persecutor almost reaches you, but you manage to escape.
Published on Dec 9, 2020
by Michael Vella
Time is flying and my kids are growing up and I'm missing it all. Before I know it, they'll be adults and I'll have lost my chance to spend real time with them. Isabelle complains that I'm never home, and when I am, the pain in her eyes is too much to bear. She knows my time home never lasts long and that in a few hours I'll head back to the lab and disappear again. For what? Working on a stupid pipe dream. A time machine. And I never have enough time. The irony is pathetic.
Published on Oct 28, 2010
by Eliza Victoria
Before the man with a gun entered the convenience store, Grace was sitting alone at a sticky, soda-splattered table, her broken arm throbbing like a heart, the roof of her mouth burning from the coffee she had drunk too quickly. It was nearly two in the morning, and there were only three other people in the store. The cashier sitting behind the counter was playing some game on his phone and having an expletive-laden argument with it. There were two guys facing each other at the table behind her. She had glanced up and had made a swift assessment (cute, also cute; dead-tired and wary, alert and looking like he's making lists in his head) when they came in earlier, talking about a cab driver who had tried to swindle them or something. One of them, the alert-looking one, was wearing a mauve rubber wristband. An Institute guest, so the other guy probably worked for the Institute. Grace knew about the wristband because she and the rest of her class wore it when they toured the facility last month. Researchers from the Institute made her nervous. Who knew what kind of experiments they were doing up there?
Published on Aug 8, 2014
by Josh Warriner
Published on Jun 24, 2022
by Jay Werkheiser
"Professor Thomson, I'm here to save your Plum Pudding theory." J. J. Thomson looked up from his desk. The stranger wore gentleman's clothing, but they were dirty and disheveled. His deep-set gray eyes sparkled with intelligence.
Published on Dec 29, 2010
by Wendy Wheeler
Gyroscopes whir and hum around me like celestial music. "Prowl the air," I mumble, head spinning. I come to, contorted and cramped into some tiny space, my nipples brushing the tops of my legs through my thin blouse. Where...? Oh yes. I am tucked into the center of the seven spinning globes of the LevoGyre. Though the device is as large as we can make it, it is barely big enough for tiny me to climb inside with curled arms and legs. Today I also had to strip off my sweater and boots.
Published on Jul 8, 2014
by Jonathan Worlde
On the outskirts of town I came across The Palace of Green Porcelain, a derelict museum with a collapsing roof, where a Hungarian caretaker was liquidating items. Dappled emerald light played on the cracked tile floor, dried leaves scuttled in the corners. I examined an old Selmer saxophone, a Victrola phonograph and a stuffed shark. Dejected that I hadn’t found anything that excited me, I was leaving when I saw, near the lavatory, a sorry-looking machine with an old hand-written sign: Time Machine--Still Works. The heavy metal sphere stood as tall as my shoulders. Crouching to look inside, I could see it would be a tight fit. Being an inventor myself, I felt I should be able to make use of it somehow, even if only for spare parts. “Does it really work?” I asked the man, who was playing a game of solitaire. He answered, with a bored tone, “It works all right. I’ve been back to the Cretaceous Period, when giant reptiles ruled the world; and I’ve been forward in time another seventy million years, where, guess what?” I had an inkling of where he was going with this. “More dinosaurs?” “Exactly, although a bipedal mammal, I hesitate to call them humans, coexist. They live in mud hovels, largely trying to stay out of the way of the dinosaurs, while gathering moss and berries to mush into a muddy paste for consumption.” “Grotesque! They cook it?” “At times, but the fire gives away their whereabouts to the dinosaurs. I barely made my escape when a pair of neo-T-Rexes attacked. ” “What about our cities? Industry? Electromagnetism?” “All gone, as though they never existed--our labors here are for naught. We threw it all away on greed and pride. How many mansions, boats, and planes can a man consume? We burn and pillage our forests and foul our oceans for a quick dollar. I’ve seen where it’s all going, and I don’t want any part of it.” I walked around the sphere again. “How much do you want for it?” “Make an offer. Everything has to go.” “It’s intriguing.” “What you want to use it for?” “I want to be there when we manage to reach the moon. Jules Verne makes it seem inevitable.” He chuckled. “You can have it cheap.” “I don’t have much money--will you trade for it?” “What do you have?” “How about an invisibility cloak?” “Don’t need it.” “A ray gun that allows you to vaporize an opponent at fifty yards?” I knew it didn’t work but it made an impressive flash. “I’m not violent.” I had one other idea. “How about this?” “What is it?” “It’s just a trifle I’ve made in my spare time. You could probably patent it and make a fortune.” He chuckled. “Doubtful. What does it do?” “It’s like a puzzle. Let me show you. You just hold it in both hands, you scramble the six sides like this, and then you realign the sides so that each side is back to one solid color.” “Huh. Sounds simple enough.” I scrambled the cube and handed it to him. “Here, give it a try.” He took it and began trying to solve the puzzle, turning the device a few times--“Well isn’t that...”--trying again and getting more frustrated--“Well I’ll be....” While he was distracted I walked past him, stooped and stepped into the machine, sat on the padded seat and tried the On switch. To my surprise it powered right up. A brass plate affixed above the door read, Time Travel Machine designed by Erno Rubik. Hearing the high-pitched whine of the engine, he turned as I pulled the hatch closed, absent-mindedly waved me off, and returned to his struggle with the cube.
Published on Feb 23, 2022
by C.M.F. Wright
It's the loathsome vibrance of his skin that clues me in--that, and his strange fascination with clocks. Most Federation aliens have varying degrees of tentacle iridescence, but only centurions possess that strange, almost obsessive preoccupation with time. The morning after she brings him home, I watch my sister's boyfriend. I watch him comb his hair in the pre-dawn light, fingers morphing into the rippling branches he wields as a brush. I watch him scrutinize the clock when my sister sleeps late, watch his eyes track the minor hand's 100-second cycle. I watch him study my reflection in the clock's glassy surface, and I wonder what he's plotting as I tie off my braid--what dark thoughts suffuse that hideous carapace, behind his slitted eyes.
Published on Jun 18, 2021
by Caroline M Yoachim
"I remember dying," my husband tells me. "Everyone I know comes to visit my deathbed." "It will be nice to see everyone," I say, forcing a smile. I don't bother to remind him that what he remembers hasn't happened yet, at least not for me. We only have a few weeks left, and I don't want to spend that time on explanations. Instead we take a long walk in the rain, huddled together under one umbrella, and then we come back home and huddle even closer to get warm.
Published on Jul 18, 2011
by Victoria Zelvin
"Stop following me," the time traveler says upon finding the immortal, again and again. "I was here first," the immortal says, every time.
Published on Nov 10, 2017