Forward, into the past
travel tome takes you back to sci-fi golden age
The Best Time Travel
Tales of the 20th Century, edited by Harry Turtledove with Martin H.
Greenberg, Ballantine Books, 425 pages.
Never since Back to the
Future have so many paradoxes, conundrums and twists been collected in
Time Travel Tales is an
anthology featuring the works and musings of many of science fiction’s
best. Each of the 18 tales in the tome asks a question: what if we could
go back to the past and change the present, or skip ahead to tomorrow to
see what today brings? The answer, generally, is not good, and most of
our time trippers meet grisly ends, including one fellow who manages to
squash himself with his own thumb.
Most of the short
stories included in the anthology examine the personal and social
ramifications of traveling through time — and messing things up. The
archetype tale of how even slightly altering the past can screw up the
present, Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder,” is included here, as is
“Time’s Arrow” by Arthur C. Clarke.
A common thread in all
the stories is a stern warning not to abuse, or even use, the
technology. No good can come of it, the tales warn, as the protagonists
all fall foul to some misstep or unintended consequence.
Time Travel Tales is
not a book to read straight through. Pick it up, put it on the bedside
table and read one or two stories before bedtime.
Relax, you have the