From the very beginning—which I guess is also the middle and the end if you follow the bent logic involved and arrange events by some scheme other than strict chronological order—there was never any way of knowing which one of us, my wife or myself, was going to invent time travel.
The raindrop began forming ninety kilometers above the surface of Titan. It started with an infinitesimal speck of tholin, adrift in the cold nitrogen atmosphere. Dianoacetylene condensed on the seed nucleus, molecule by molecule, until it was one shard of ice in a cloud of billions.
Red-haired Mother, with her sharp nose and freckled chest, leaned low over the hydroponics channel and declared that the dead plants were Girl23’s fault.
There is no definitive census of all the intelligent species in the universe. Not only are there perennial arguments about what qualifies as intelligence, but each moment and everywhere, civilizations rise and fall, much as the stars are born and die. Time devours all.
You think you’re going to get me, don’t you? Well, you’ve got another think coming, ‘cause I’m ready for you.
“I’m gonna visit Dad.” Matt is curled in the passenger seat of their antique minivan, scowling as offworlders tromp and slither past their front bumper. Shooting a glance at Ruthie through long, pretty eyelashes, he flips down the visor to check the mirror.
Eventually it came to pass that no one ever had to die, unless they ran out of money. When you started to feel the little aches and twinges that meant your body was running down, you just got in line at Immortality, Incorporated, and handed them your credit card. As long as you had at least a million bucks—and eventually everybody did—they would reset you to whatever age you liked.
There is such a thing as an antifuse. This device is used to maintain the ongoing flow of electricity when there is local failure. The antifuse works similarly to a fuse in that it is designed to be sacrificed for a specific goal. But while a fuse is sacrificed to stop electricity from flowing, an antifuse is sacrificed to guarantee that the electricity does not stop.
“Heresy,” he told me. The brackish waters of his pool sloshed gently.
“Another one?” I said wearily. “There are so many these days.”
My inquisitor wore a hangdog look more than earned by the absurdity of this official interview. Had I the ability to be annoyed, I didn’t even imagine I would have been. Amused? Possibly: The incompetence of these proceedings was palpable enough.