| || The Haertel Scholium Stories|
by James Blish
First story: Galaxy, Feb 1954
Blish’s story “Beep” appeared in 1954 with a casual mention of time-travel when a message is overheard from a future spaceship that’s following a worldline backwards through time. The main story follows video reporter Dana Lje who stumbles upon the newly invented Dirac radio which allows instantaneous communication and, as only she realizes, also carries a record of every transmission ever made, both past and future.
At Larry Shaw’s request, Blish expanded “Beep” into the short novel The Quincunx of Time, and both these stories share a background wherein the work of Dolph Haertel (the next Einstein) provides an ftl-drive (the Haertel Overdrive, later called the Imaginary Drive), an antigravity device (the spindizzy), and an instantaneous communicator (the Dirac Radio). I read many of these in the early ’70s, but can’t find my notes and don’t remember any other time travel beyond that one communiqué that Lje overheard. Still, I’ll list everything in The Haertel Scholium and reread them some day!
- Pantropy and Seedling Stars stories (1942-1956) Various publications
- Cities in Flight stories (1952-1962) Various publications
- Common Time (Jul 1953) in Shadow of Tomorrow
- Beep (Feb 1954) Galaxy
- Nor Iron Bars (Nov 1957) Infinity
- A Case of Conscience (Sep 1953) & novel (1958) If
- A Dusk of Idols (Mar 1961) Amazing
- Midsummer Century (Apr 1972) & novel (May 1972) F&SF
- The Quincunx of Time (Oct 1973) expands “Beep”
It is instead one of the seven or eight great philosophical questions that remain unanswered, the problem of whether man has or has not free will.