| || The Backspace Stories|
by F.M. Busby
First story: Asimov’s Science Fiction, Winter 1977
After fixing the smog problem by reversing the direction of Earth’s spin, Pete’s flaky friend Sam shows up with device that includes a calendar display and a grey backspace button. That, of course, was in the 1977 story, “Backspace”. I don’t know whether there were any earlier stories of Peter and Sam before the backspace button appeared, but there were several others afterward in Asimov’s Science Fiction. In the second story (“Balancing Act”), Sam could still “edit” time, even though he’d burned out the backspace button by stopping World War III. It’s unclear whether this second sort of editing involves time travel, but it is fun to speculate on what I might edit if given the chance.
- Backspace (Winter 1977) enter the backspace button
- Balancing Act (16 Feb 1981) editing Pete’s bloopers and more
- Backup System (26 Oct 1981) Sam’s death causes backspacing
- Wrong Number (21 Dec 1981) aliens v. Russia
My friend Sam is the only person I know who edits events. Which is to say, he does something in his head and the past changes; the alterations, of course also reflect into the present and the future.