An Eloi Honorable Mention
“Let me get out of these furs.” She walked away while fumbling with a zipper at her throat. The furs were all one garment which slipped off her shoulders and fell to the floor. Perry felt a shock like an icy shower and then a warm tingle.
Robert A. Heinlein, Master Traveller
Had Heinlein written nothing other than “—All You Zombies—”, he would still be a masterful Master Traveller.
Most people think of time as a track that they run on from birth to death as inexorably as a train follows its rails—they feel instinctively that time follows a straight line, the past lying behind, the future lying in front. Now I have reason to believe—to know—that time is analogous to a surface rather than a line, and a rolling hilly surface at that. Think of this track we follow over the surface of time as a winding road cut through hills. Every little way the road branches and the branches follow side canyons. At these branches the crucial decisions of your life take place. You can turn right or left into entirely different futures. Occasionally there is a switchback where one can scramble up or down a bank and skip over a few thousand or million years—if you don’t have your eyes so fixed on the road that you miss the short cut.
An Eloi Gold Medal Winner
Wait a minute now—he was under no compulsion. He was sure of that. Everything he did and said was the result of his own free will. Even if he didn’t remember the script, there were some things that he knew “Joe” hadn’t said. “Mary had a little lamb,” for example. He would recite a nursery rhyme and get off this damned repetitive treadmill. He opened his mouth—
Denver in 1970 was a very quaint place with a fine old-fashioned flavor; I became very fond of it. It was nothing like the slick New Plan maze it had been (or would be) when I had arrived (or would arrive) there from Yuma; it still had less than two million people, there were still buses and other vehicular traffic in the streets—there were still streets; I had no trouble finding Colfax Avenue.
When I opened you, I found a mess. I sent for the Chief of Surgery while I got the baby out, then we held a consultation with you on the table—and worked for hours to salvage what we could. You had two full sets of organs, both immature, but with the female set well enough developed for you to have a baby. They could never be any use to you again, so we took them out and rearranged things so that you can develop properly as a man.
Because the communists are realists. They never risk a war that would hurt them, even if they could win. So they won’t risk one they can’t win.
This sad little lizard told me he was a brontosaurus on his mother’s side. I did not laugh, people who boast of ancestry often have little else to sustain them. Humoring them costs nothing and adds to happiness in a world in which happiness is always in short supply.
Sharpie, you have just invented multiperson pantheistic solipsism. I didn’t think that was mathematically possible.
My darling had planned a pianissimo approach: Live for a time on Tertius (a heavenly place), get me hooked on multiverse history and time travel theory, et cetera. Not crowd me about signing up, but depend on the fact that she and Gretchen and Ezra and others (Uncle Jock, e.g.) were in the Corps . . . until I asked to be allowed to be sworn in.
An Eloi Bronze Medal Winner
I found myself offering my hand and greeting a young man who matched in every way (even to his body odor, which I caught quite clearly—clean male, in fresh rut)—a man who was my father as my earliest memory recalled him.