The Not Quite Adventures of a Professional Archaeologist and Aspiring Curmudgeon

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Short Science Fiction Story

In the last moments of my life, I recalled my conversation with Dr. Johnson regarding the time machine. He had explained that the machine could travel through time, but not space. So I could go forward or backward in time, but would remain in the same location. Johnson had indicated the platform on which the machine stood, and said "this is the very height, down to the millimeter, of the land at this location prior to the construction of this facility."

He was proud of the machine, of the scientific work behind it, and, strangely, of having built the simple wooden platform. The USAF had sent me to be his test pilot, and I was getting ready to see this little corner of Nevada as it was in 1850, though I doubt it would be too terribly different from what it was now, other than the lack of pre-fab standardized government-issue buildings.

I thought of this after the laboratory had vanished, and was replaced with a starscape and a darkness more complete than anything I had ever seen on earth. I thought of this as the capsule exploded around me, it's internal air supply forcing it's relatively weak seems to break against the vacuum. And I completed my thoughts of this conversation as space sucked the air from my lungs and I could feel my eyes turning to ice.

Note: I have always been puzzled by science fiction stories that portray traveling forward or backward in time while remaining in the same spot on Earth as travel through space but not time. The planet, Solar System, and even galaxy are always moving. So, if you were to travel through space but not time, you wouldn't end up in the same point on earth but in a different year. Statistically speaking, you would most likely end up in the vacuum of space.


Anonymous said...

Some of the stories I've read state that the time machine is "anchored" on Earth, hence why you can't move around on the surface, but won't get lost in space either.

But most stories don't touch upon this - I think most people, even if they know it intellectually, just don't REALIZE that the Earth moves around in space.

I also think there's quite a few writers that DON'T know the Earth moves.

Diana said...

There you go, ruining a perfectly good fictional construct with real facts ;). Thanks for the laugh!

Anthroslug said...

You know, when I was cooking this idea up in my head, it was intended to be goofy. When I wrote it, it came out rather more gruesome than I had wanted. So it goes.

Lynn said...

LOL! Had to read it twice to get it... obviously, I'm a little slow today.