A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Timothy Leary, Batu Khan, and the Palimpsest of Universal Reality

Over on the story preview page we have another Blast from the Past, a novelette entitled "Timothy Leary, Batu Khan, and the Palimpsest of Universal Reality," which appeared in F&SF in April, 1993. Only Part I is up. Part II will follow in a week.

This is one of those stories that came to me in a dream. That sort of thing does not happen as often as folklore claims, for the excellent reason that dreams are generally not well-plotted. But this time I awoke from slumber with the first scene in my head, involving Roman legionnaires, a Mongol ordu, and the Place de la Concorde Metro station. Even the Babylonian was in the dream.

After that, I was on my own. Ultimately it led to the story notion of mutable and cumulative time. The past could be revised, but all revisions ran concurrently, and when you time scooted you might wind up on this version or that.

To top it off, scooters were too easy to duplicate.  People slapped themselves on the forehead afterward and said, of course, so obvious.  So, the word got out and, what with outright theft and the blatant violation of patent laws, pretty soon everybody and his grandmother was timescooting. 
I still don’t know when my grandmother is.  
Hence, the garble of ancient Romans hunting for slaves in Paris-1923, Mongol horsemen looking to ambush them, and a Paris metro train in 1923 scooting off to Chicago in 1965. 

Now the story is not about that. It's about the Narrator, Jack, trying to solve his life, which he had royally screwed up with his idealized girl friend back in the 60s. We'll get into that part of it in Part II.

Gardner Dozois took a pass on this because he thought the darker tone of Part II did not mesh with the lighter tone of Part I. Likely, he was right and there are two stories here like two cats in a sack. K.K. Rusch, however, liked it and ran it in F&SF. We report, you decide.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Whoa, What's This?

adam amateur theology anthropology aphorisms Aquinas argument from motion Aristotelianism art atheism autumn of the modern ages books brains breaking news captive dreams cartoon charts chieftain clannafhloinn comix commentary counterattack crusades culcha dogheads easton stuff economics eifelheim evolution factoids on parade fake news fallen angels Feeders fir trees in lungs firestar flicks floods flynncestry flynnstuff forecasts forest of time fun facts gandersauce gimlet eye global warming glvwg headlines henchmen high frontier history home front how to lie with statistics humor Hunters Moon hush-hush hypatia in the house of submission irish Iron Shirts irrationalism january dancer jihad journeyman kabuki kool letter lion's mouth lunacon maps mayerling medieval metrology miscellany modern mythology moose zombies music new years nexus odds odds and ends paleofuture passing of the modern age philosophy philosophy math poetry politics potpourri psyched out! public service quality quiet sun quote of the day razor's edge redefinition of marriage religio reviews river of stars scandal science science marches on scientism scrivening shipwrecks of time shroud skiffy skiffy in the news skools slipping masks some people will believe anything stats stories stranger things the auld curmudgeon the madness continues the new fascism the russians are coming the spiral arm the writing life thomism thought for the day thread o' years tofspot topology untergang des abendlandes untergang des morgenlandes up jim river video clips vignettes war on science we get letters we're all gonna die whimsy words at play wuv xmas you can't make this stuff up