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Wikihistory

Desmond Warzel

This short story originally appeared in Abyss & Apex #24, Fourth Quarter 2007.

International Association of Time Travelers: Members' Forum
Subforum: Europe--Twentieth Century--Second World War Page 263

Read the full story for free at Abyss & Apex or Tor.com.

The Speed of Dark

Elizabeth Moon

In the near future, disease will be a condition of the past. Most genetic defects will be removed at birth; the remaining during infancy. Unfortunately, there will be a generation left behind. For members of that missed generation, small advances will be made. Through various programs, they will be taught to get along in the world despite their differences. They will be made active and contributing members of society. But they will never be normal.

Lou Arrendale is a member of that lost generation, born at the wrong time to reap the awards of medical science. Part of a small group of high-functioning autistic adults, he has a steady job with a pharmaceutical company, a car, friends, and a passion for fencing. Aside from his annual visits to his counselor, he lives a low-key, independent life. He has learned to shake hands and make eye contact. He has taught himself to use "please" and "thank you" and other conventions of conversation because he knows it makes others comfortable. He does his best to be as normal as possible and not to draw attention to himself.

But then his quiet life comes under attack. It starts with an experimental treatment that will reverse the effects of autism in adults. With this treatment Lou would think and act and be just like everyone else. But if he was suddenly free of autism, would he still be himself? Would he still love the same classical music–with its complications and resolutions? Would he still see the same colors and patterns in the world–shades and hues that others cannot see? Most importantly, would he still love Marjory, a woman who may never be able to reciprocate his feelings? Would it be easier for her to return the love of a "normal"?

There are intense pressures coming from the world around him–including an angry supervisor who wants to cut costs by sacrificing the supports necessary to employ autistic workers. Perhaps even more disturbing are the barrage of questions within himself. For Lou must decide if he should submit to a surgery that might completely change the way he views the world... and the very essence of who he is.

Thoughtful, provocative, poignant, unforgettable, The Speed of Dark is a gripping exploration into the mind of an autistic person as he struggles with profound questions of humanity and matters of the heart.

To Say Nothing of the Dog

Oxford Time Travel: Book 3

Connie Willis

In her first full-length novel since her critically acclaimed Doomsday Book Connie Willis, winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, once again visits the unpredictable world of time travel. But this time the result is a joyous journey into a past and future of comic mishaps and historical cross-purposes, in which the power of human love can still make all the difference.

On the surface, England in the summer of 1888 is possibly the most restful time in history--lazy afternoons boating on the Thames, tea parties, croquet on the lawn--and time traveler Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest. He's been shuttling back and forth between the 21st century and the 1940s looking for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop's birdstump. It's only the latest in a long string of assignments from Lady Schrapnell, the rich dowager who has invaded Oxford University. She's promised to endow the university's time-travel research project in return for their help in rebuilding the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years before.

But the bargain has turned into a nightmare. Lady Schrapnell's motto is "God is in the details," and as the l25th anniversary of the cathedral's destruction--and the deadline for its proposed completion--approaches, time-travel research has fallen by the wayside. Now Ned and his colleagues are frantically engaged in installing organ pipes, researching misericords, and generally risking life and limb. So when Ned gets the chance to escape to the Victorian era, he jumps at it. Unfortunately, he isn't really being sent there to recover from his time-lag symptoms, but to correct an incongruity a fellow historian, Verity Kindle, has inadvertently created by bringing something forward from the past.

In theory, such an act is impossible. But now it has happened, and it's up to Ned and Verity to correct the incongruity before it alters history or, worse, destroys the space-time continuum. And they have to do it while coping with eccentric Oxford dons, table-rapping spiritualists, a very spoiled young lady, and an even more spoiled cat. As Ned and Verity try frantically to hold things together and find out why the incongruity happened, the breach widens, time travel goes amok, and everything starts to fall apart--until the fate of the entire space-time continuum hangs on a sÚance, a butler, a bulldog, the battle of Waterloo, and, above all, on the bishop's birdstump.

At once a mystery novel, a time-travel adventure, and a Shakespearean comedy, To Say Nothing of the Dog is a witty and imaginative tale of misconceptions, misunderstandings, and a chaotic world in which the shortest distance between two points is never a straight line, and the secret to the universe truly lies "in the details."

A Clockwork Orange

Anthony Burgess

In this nightmare vision of a not-too-distant future, fifteen-year-old Alex and his three friends rob, rape, torture and murder - for fun. Alex is jailed for his vicious crimes and the State undertakes to reform him - but how and at what cost?

Bellwether

Connie Willis

Sandra Foster studies fads and their meanings for the HiTek corporation. Bennet O'Reilly works with monkey group behavior and chaos theory for the same company. When the two are thrust together due to a misdelivered package and a run of seemingly bad luck, they find a joint project in a flock of sheep. But a series of setbacks and disappointments arise before they are able to find answers to their questions.

The Long Tomorrow

Leigh Brackett

One of the original novels of post-nuclear holocaust America, The Long Tomorrow is considered by many to be one of the finest science fiction novels ever written on the subject. The story has inspired generations of new writers and is still as mesmerizing today as when it was originally written.

Len and Esau are young cousins living decades after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization as we know. The rulers of the post-war community have forbidden the existence of large towns and consider technology evil.

However Len and Esau long for more than their simple agrarian existence. Rumors of mythical Bartorstown, perhaps the last city in existence, encourage the boys to embark on a journey of discovery and adventure that will call into question not only firmly held beliefs, but the boys' own personal convictions.

Beauty Queens

Libba Bray

From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to emall. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

The Real-Town Murders

Real-Town Murders: Book 1

Adam Roberts

Alma is a private detective in a near-future England, a country desperately trying to tempt people away from the delights of Shine, the immersive successor to the internet. But most people are happy to spend their lives plugged in, and the country is decaying.

Alma's partner is ill, and has to be treated without fail every 4 hours, a task that only Alma can do. If she misses the 5 minute window her lover will die. She is one of the few not to access the Shine.

So when Alma is called to an automated car factory to be shown an impossible death and finds herself caught up in a political coup, she knows that getting too deep may leave her unable to get home.

What follows is a fast-paced Hitchcockian thriller as Alma evades arrest, digs into the conspiracy, and tries to work out how on earth a dead body appeared in the boot of a freshly-made car in a fully-automated factory.

The Man Who Fell to Earth

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 148

Walter Tevis

T.J. Newton is an extraterrestrial who goes to Earth on a desperate mission of mercy. But instead of aid, Newton discovers loneliness and despair that ultimately ends in tragedy.

Lexicon

Max Barry

At an exclusive training school at an undisclosed location outside Washington, D.C., students are taught to control minds, to wield words as weapons. The very best graduate as "poets" and enter a nameless organization of unknown purpose. Recruited off the street, whip-smart Emily Ruff quickly learns the one key rule: never allow another person to truly know you. Emily becomes the school's most talented prodigy, until she makes the catastrophic mistake of falling in love.

Double Star

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 140

Robert A. Heinlein

One minute, down and out actor Lorenzo Smythe was -- as usual -- in a bar, drinking away his troubles as he watched his career go down the tubes. Then a space pilot bought him a drink, and the next thing Smythe knew, he was shanghaied to Mars.

Suddenly he found himself agreeing to the most difficult role of his career: impersonating an important politician who had been kidnapped. Peace with the Martians was at stake -- failure to pull off the act could result in interplanetary war. And Smythe's own life was on the line -- for if he wasn't assassinated, there was always the possibility that he might be trapped in his new role forever!

The Goblin Reservation

Masters of Science Fiction: Book 32

Clifford D. Simak

En route to an interplanetary research mission, a scientist is abducted by a strange, shadowy race of aliens and taken to a previously uncharted planet, a storehouse of information that would be invaluable--even to an Earth so advanced that time travel allows goblins, dinosaurs, even Shakespeare to coexist.

Mostly Harmless

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Book 5

Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams is back with the amazing, logic-defying, but-why-stop-now fifth novel in the Hitchhiker Trilogy. Here is the epic story of Random, who sets out on a transgalactic quest to find the planet of her ancestors.

Crosstalk

Connie Willis

In the not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. And Briddey Flannigan is delighted when her boyfriend, Trent, suggests undergoing the operation prior to a marriage proposal -- to enjoy better emotional connection and a perfect relationship with complete communication and understanding. But things don't quite work out as planned, and Briddey finds herself connected to someone else entirely -- in a way far beyond what she signed up for.

It is almost more than she can handle -- especially when the stress of managing her all-too-eager-to-communicate-at-all-times family is already burdening her brain. But that's only the beginning. As things go from bad to worse, she begins to see the dark side of too much information, and to realize love -- and communication -- are far more complicated than she ever imagined.

Rollback

Robert J. Sawyer

Dr. Sarah Halifax decoded the first-ever radio transmission received from aliens. Thirty-eight years later, a second message is received and Sarah, now 87, may hold the key to deciphering this one, too... if she lives long enough.

A wealthy industrialist offers to pay for Sarah to have a rollback-a hugely expensive experimental rejuvenation procedure. She accepts on condition that Don, her husband of sixty years, gets a rollback, too. The process works for Don, making him physically twenty-five again. But in a tragic twist, the rollback fails for Sarah, leaving her in her eighties.

While Don tries to deal with his newfound youth and the suddenly vast age gap between him and his wife, Sarah struggles to do again what shed done once before: figure out what a signal from the stars contains.

The Long Earth

The Long Earth: Book 1

Stephen Baxter
Terry Pratchett

NORMALLY, WHEN THERE WAS NOTHING TO DO, HE LISTENED TO THE SILENCE.

The Silence was very faint here. Almost drowned out by the sounds of the mundane world. Did people in this polished building understand how noisy it was? The roar of air conditioners and computer fans, the susurration of many voices heard but not decipherable.... This was the office of the transEarth Institute, an arm of the Black Corporation. The faceless office, all plasterboard and chrome, was dominated by a huge logo, a chesspiece knight. This wasn't Joshua's world. None of it was his world. In fact, when you got right down to it, he didn't have a world; he had all of them.

ALL OF THE LONG EARTH.

I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land

Connie Willis

Jim is in New York City at Christmastime shopping a book based on his blog--Gone for Good-- premised on the fact that "being nostalgic for things that have disappeared is ridiculous." Progress decides for people what they need and what's obsolete. It's that simple. Of course, not everyone agrees. After Jim bombs a contentious interview with a radio host who defends the sacred technology of the printed, tangible book, he gets caught in a rainstorm only to find himself with no place to take refuge other than a quaint, old-fashioned bookshop.

Ozymandias Books is not just any store. Jim wanders intrigued through stacks of tomes he doesn't quite recognize the titles of, none with prices. Here he discovers a mysteriously pristine, seemingly endless wonderland of books--where even he gets nostalgic for his childhood favorite. And, yes, the overwhelmed and busy clerk showing him around says they have a copy. But it's only after Jim leaves that he understands the true nature of Ozymandias and how tragic it is that some things may be gone forever...

This novella originally appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, November-December 2017. It was published in chapbook edition in 2018.

Dream Park

Dream Park: Book 1

Larry Niven
Steven Barnes

They were all playing games.... but one of them was playing for keeps.

Chet Henderson was playing at revenge, an to boost his flagging reputation as a Lore-master.

Richard Lopez was playing to prove this his earlier successes as a Gamemaster were no fluke.

Ollie and Gwen and Mary-em and Tony were playing because it made them feel alive.

Alex Griffin was playing to protect Dream Park's darkest secret.

In Dream Park, everyone plays. But if some win, some have to lose. And losing can be a matter of life or death.

Fallen Angels

Michael Flynn
Larry Niven
Jerry Pournelle

As the world reels under the sudden onslaught of the new ice age, the lunatic fringe of the environmental movement controls the U.S. government. Abandoned by Earth, the space colonies must replenish their air supply by scoopships diving into the atmosphere -- but Alex and Gordon's ship was hit by a missile, sending them tumbling out of the sky to be hunted by authorities who want them dead or alive. . . . But wait! There is one pro-tech group left on Earth: science fiction fandom! How they get our guys from the permafrost to orbit in twenty incredibly difficult stages -- and why they bother -- is the story of two very "Fallen Angels."

Infomocracy

Centenal Cycle: Book 1

Malka Older

It's been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything's on the line.

With power comes corruption. For Ken, this is his chance to do right by the idealistic Policy1st party and get a steady job in the big leagues. For Domaine, the election represents another staging ground in his ongoing struggle against the pax democratica. For Mishima, a dangerous Information operative, the whole situation is a puzzle: how do you keep the wheels running on the biggest political experiment of all time, when so many have so much to gain?

Infomocracy is Malka Older's debut novel.

Player Piano

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Vonnegut's first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Dr. Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a super computer and run completely by machines. His rebellion is a wildly funny, darkly satirical look at the modern society of the mid 20th century.

Jennifer Government

Max Barry

Jennifer Government is Here to Help!

In Max Barry’s twisted, hilarious vision of the near future, the world is run by giant American corporations (except for a few deluded holdouts like the French); taxes are illegal; employees take the last names of the companies they work for; The Police and The NRA are publicly-traded security firms; the U.S. government may only investigate crimes if they can bill a citizen directly. It’s a free market paradise!

Hack Nike is a lowly Merchandising Officer who’s not very good at negotiating his salary. So when John Nike and John Nike, executives from the promised land of Marketing, offer him a contract, he signs without reading it. Unfortunately, Hack’s new contract involves shooting teenagers to build up street cred for Nike’s new line of $2,500 sneakers. Scared, Hack goes to The Police, who assume he’s asking for a subcontracting deal and lease the assassinations to the NRA.

Soon Hack finds himself pursued by Jennifer Government, a tough-talking agent with a barcode tattoo under her eye and a rabid determination to nail John Nike (the boss of the other John Nike). In a world where your job title means everything, the most cherished possession is a platinum credit card, and advertising jingles give way to automatic weapons in the fight for market share, Jennifer Government is the consumer watchdog from hell.

Jennifer Government is the kind of novel that can become a byword--a Catch-22 for the New World Order, a satire both broad and pointed, deeply funny and disturbingly on-target.

Friday

Robert A. Heinlein

Friday is her name... She is as thoroughly resourceful as she is strikingly beautiful. She is one of the best interplanetary agents in the business. And she is an Artificial Person... the ultimate glory of genetic engineering.

Friday... not since Valentine Michael Smith, hero of the bestselling Stranger in a Strange Land, has Robert Heinlein created a more captivating protagonist... in a novel every bit as entertaining and exciting as this Grand Master of science fiction, now in his seventy-fifth year, has given us over his four-decade career.

Friday is a secret courier. She is employed by a man known to her only as "Boss." Operating from and over a near-future Earth, in which North America has become Balkanized into dozens of independent states, where culture has become bizarrely vulgarized and chaos is the happy norm, she finds herself on shuttlecock assignment at Boss's seemingly whimsical behest. From New Zealand to Canada, from one to another of the new states of America's disunion, she keeps her balance nimbly with quick, expeditious solutions to one calamity and scrape after another. Desperate for human identity and relationships, she is never sure whether she is one step ahead of, or one step behind, the ultimate fate of the human race.

Super Extra Grande

Yoss

With playfulness and ingenuity in the tradition of Douglas Adams, the Cuban science fiction master Yoss delivers a space opera of intergalactic proportions with Super Extra Grande, the winner of the 20th annual UPC Science Fiction Award in 2011.

Set in a distant future, after the invention of faster-than-light space travel has propelled a still-immature mankind into the far corners of the Milky Way, the novel features creatures of immense variety--amoebas that cover entire worlds, sensual females that feed on substances from their males' reproductive systems, talking reptiles, and other creations drawn from the classics of Cuban and international science fiction--all of which serve as colleagues, fellow adventurers, sex partners, teachers, or members of the military high command in the Galactic Community governing this part of the universe. Our protagonist, Jan Amos Sangan Dongo, has a special role in this otherworldly menagerie: He is a veterinarian who specializes in treating enormous animals across the galaxy. When a colonial conflict threatens the fragile peace between the Galaxy's seven intelligent species, Dr. Sangan must embark on a daring mission to enter a gigantic creature and find two swallowed ambassadors--who also happen to be his competing love interests.

Coupling his own extensive studies in (earthly) biology with his vast curiosity and wild imagination, Yoss brings us a rare specimen in the richly parodic tradition of Cuban science fiction.

The Circle

Dave Eggers

The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from Dave Eggers, best-selling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award.

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can't believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world--even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman's ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.