The story also appeared in this paperback of Simak stories with a beautiful Eddie Jones cover, which I bought in Scotland at Christmas break in 1977.
| || “Small Deer” |
by Clifford D. Simak
First publication: Galaxy, Oct 1965
Alton James has a bent for all things mechanical and an interest in dinosaurs, so when his mathematically minded friend describes how a time machine should be built, Alton builds it and heads for 65 million B.C. to see what killed off the dinosaurs.
We were lucky, that was all. We could have sent that camera back another thousand times, perhaps, and never caught a mastodon—probably never caught a thing. Although we would have known it had moved in time, for the landscape had been different, although not a great deal different. But from the landscape we could not have told if it had gone back a hundred or a thousand years. When we saw the mastadon, however, we knew we’d sent the camera back 10,000 years at least.
I won’t bore you with how we worked out a lot of problems on our second model, or how Dennis managed to work out a time-meter that we could calibrate to send the machine a specific distance into time. Because all this is not important. What is important is what I found when I went into time.
I’ve already told you I’d read your book about Cretaceous dinosaurs and I liked the entire book, but that final chapter about the extinction of the dinosaurs is the one that really got me. Many a time I’d lie awake at night thinking about all the theories you wrote about and trying to figure out in my own mind how it really was.
So when it was time to get into that machine and go, I knew where I would be headed.