I can transport you into the past, and you can create events there which never took place in the past we know—but the events are not new. They were ordained from the beginning, if you took that particular path. You are simply embarking upon a different path into a different future, a fixed and preordained future, yet one which will be strange to you because it lies outside your own layer of experience. So you have infinite freedom in all your actions, yet everything you can possibly do is already fixed in time.
“Great Snell!” he gasped. “So that was it! I ran into a temporal snag!”
Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, Master Travellers
Kuttner and Moore hold the distinction of being the recipients of the only joint Master Travellers award. It’s hard to pick which is their most unforgetable story: “The Twonky”? “Mimsy...”? “Vintage Season”? Nope. I’m nominating the lesser known “What You Need”!
He was, Vanning reflected, an odd duck. Galloway was essentially amoral, thoroughly out of place in this too-complicated world. He seemed to watch, with a certain wry amusement, from a vantage point of his own, rather disinterested for the most part. And he made things—
An Eloi Honorable Mention
Neither Paradine nor Jane guessed how much of an effect the contents of the time machine were having on the kids.
Now, shielding the bills with his body, he took them out for a closer examination. They looked all right. They weren’t counterfeit; the serial numbers were O.K.; and they had the same odd musty smell Holt had noticed before. “You must have been hoarding these,” he hazarded. Smith said absently, “They’ve been on exhibit for sixty years—” He caught himself and drank rye.
On the wall before him, in the dimness of the room, a great circular screen looked out opaquely, waiting his touch. A doorway into time and space. A doorway to beauty and deadly peril and everything that made livable for him a life which had perhaps gone on too long already.
An Eloi Gold Medal Winner
Looking backward later, Oliver thought that in that moment, for the first time clearly, he began to suspect the truth. But he had no time to ponder it, for after the brief instant of enmity the three people from—elsewhere—began to speak all at once, as if in a belated attempt to cover something they did not want noticed.