| || “The Price of Oranges” |
by Nancy Kress
First publication: Asimov’s Science Fiction, Apr 1989
Harry’s closet takes him back to 1937 where his social security income buys cheaper oranges, treats for his friend Manny, and possibly a companionable man for his jaded granddaughter Jackie.
Harry bought a pair of socks, thick gray wool, for 89 cents. When the man took his dollar, Harry held his breath: each first time made a little pip in his stomach. But on one ever looked at the dates of old bills. He bought two oranges for five cents each, and then, thinking of Manny, bought a third. At a candystore he bought G-8 and His Battle Aces for fifteen cents. At The Collector’s Cozy in the other time they would gladly give him thirty dollars for it. Finally, he bought a cherry Coke for a nickel and headed towards the park.
| || “Great Work of Time” |
by John Crowley
First publication: Novelty: Four Stories, May 1989
When a secret society called the Otherhood acquires Caspar Last’s time machine in 1983, they set out to change history so that the British Empire never declines (although it may be infused with various Lovecraftian species such as the Draconics), an endeavor for which in 1956 they recruit Denys Winterset, one of the Colonial Service’s many assistant district commissioners of police.
Of course the possible worlds we make don’t compare to the real one we inhabit—not nearly so well furnished, or tricked out with details. And yet still somehow better. More satisfying. Perhaps the novelist is only a special case of a universal desire to reshape, to ‘take this sorry scheme of things entire,’ smash it into bits, and ‘remold it nearer to the heart’s desire’—as old Kyayyám says. The egoist is continually doing it with his own life. To dream of doing it with history is no more useful a game, I suppose, but as a game, it shows more sport.
| || Mixed Doubles |
by Daniel da Cruz
First publication: Aug 1989
Justin Pope, a music major (like Paul Eisebrey!), stumbles upon a time machine that he uses to kidnap Franz Schubert from his deathbed; Pope cures Franz and uses him as a source of compositions to create a magnificent career of his own (with the help of Angelica), until Franz turns the tables (with the help of Philipa).
Paul Eisenbrey introduced me to this author in college, but I found Mixed Doubles on my own some years later.
From time to time double checking with the manual, he began to punch in the commands that, he had calculated from ceaseless experimentation, would project him three thousand years into the past, plus of minus fifteen years. It was a vast improvement on his first efforts, which had been accurate only to within two centuries. The reentry program was more precise by orders of magnitude: it would bring him back to the moment of departure, plus zero to seventeen hours.