— We guarantee nothing, said the official, except the dinosaurs.

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haha fantastic!

"sound of thunder" is kind of the ur-text for time travel paradox stories and while i'm more partial to "a gun for dinosaur" i think some critical questions should be asked of this one

(pardon me while i go think some up)

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 13:29 (thirteen years ago) link

actually there's no paradox in this story is there, it's just a general kind of "you know not what you do" kind of story

in "gun for dinosaur" they sidestep the entire foundation of this story by saying if you go back in time far enough, changes to history sort of get lost in the wash

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 14:11 (thirteen years ago) link

I came to post about "gun for dinosaur" but Tracer beat me to it.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 14:20 (thirteen years ago) link

There's also an Alfred Bester story, not involving dinosaurs, in which time travelers can't change their own present by changing the past, but only change the present of a parallel universe.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 14:51 (thirteen years ago) link

who wrote the one where guys go back and shoot a dinosaur and then get eaten by GIANT DINOSAUR TICKS?

thomp, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 14:57 (thirteen years ago) link

Gahan Wilson?

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 15:03 (thirteen years ago) link


(not an answer to previous question, merely another dinosaur picture)

thomp, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 15:04 (thirteen years ago) link

His non-fiction book The Ancient Engineers is grebt.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 15:06 (thirteen years ago) link

first dino in a SF is (i believe) "journey to the centre of the earth"

mark s, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 23:14 (thirteen years ago) link

(haha the version of JttCotE that is in my dad's house -- probably his dad's before him -- was translated by one Rev.Frederick Amadeus Malleson, and includes TART FOOTNOTES CORRECTING THE SCIENCE -- it also corrects the book's title viz “A Journey to the Interior of the Earth”)

mark s, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 23:21 (thirteen years ago) link

Haha. Speaking of dinos, do you know what TV show featured scripts by DC Fontana, Norman Spinrad, Ben Bova, Wina Sturgeon (Mrs. Theodore), Walter Koenig, and Larry Niven?

James Redd and the Blecchs, Thursday, 1 May 2008 12:00 (thirteen years ago) link

(I was reminded of the show by the L. Sprague de Camp cover)

James Redd and the Blecchs, Thursday, 1 May 2008 12:01 (thirteen years ago) link

Poe's "Morning on the Wissahiccon" is strongly suggestive of a dinosaur story without actually introducing one: he uses an atavistic giant moose instead. But the story is all about travelling back thru time to the primeval, albeit in the narrator's head.

Noodle Vague, Thursday, 1 May 2008 12:05 (thirteen years ago) link

that sounds so incredibly fantastic

thomp, Thursday, 1 May 2008 12:19 (thirteen years ago) link

It's short: http://raven-edgar-allan-poe.blogspot.com/2007/07/morning-on-wissahiccon.html

It feels like the border point between Romanticism and SF.

Noodle Vague, Thursday, 1 May 2008 12:22 (thirteen years ago) link

never much dug the idea of poe as romantic er um.

there's a 'the science fiction of edgar allen poe' anthology, blanking about what was in it other than pym though

thomp, Thursday, 1 May 2008 12:41 (thirteen years ago) link

"Wissahiccon" is total Romantic "ain't nature intense" proselytising tho, right up to the bitter punchline.

Noodle Vague, Thursday, 1 May 2008 12:45 (thirteen years ago) link

Anyway yeah I meant to say I thought Poe had used actual dinosaurs in something, or something very close to them.

Noodle Vague, Thursday, 1 May 2008 12:46 (thirteen years ago) link

great link! i'm adding it to the slugz page

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 1 May 2008 14:03 (thirteen years ago) link

noodle that is awesome! poe is a j.verne avatar AND a ray bradbury avatar of course -- he got everywhere first*

(haha verne wrote a sequel to the narrative of arthur gordon pym = THE SPHINX OF THE ICE i think...)

*i have the penguin SF of poe collection -- off top of head has the fake balloon journey and the hypnotised undead corpse

mark s, Thursday, 1 May 2008 14:30 (thirteen years ago) link

have it -- check
can't find it -- check


mark s, Thursday, 1 May 2008 15:05 (thirteen years ago) link

The Penguin Poe SF also has 'Eureka', the nigh-unreadable SF/philosophy thing about the birth of the universe told in dialogue between ethereal spirits or some such. But the rest of it is pretty ace.

James Morrison, Thursday, 1 May 2008 23:07 (thirteen years ago) link

Just reread "A G for D." I like how the bad guy gets his comeuppance not by human hand, but for trying to violate the laws of time travel.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Friday, 2 May 2008 13:34 (thirteen years ago) link

yeah but the explanation beyond that of WHY this happens to him gets just a LEEETLE fuzzy

Tracer Hand, Friday, 2 May 2008 13:40 (thirteen years ago) link

Yeah, I worried about that for a second or too, but then appreciated the way he amped up a nerdy Encyclopedia Brown dénouement to be consistent with the foregoing Merion C. Cooper/H. Rider Haggard spectacle.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Friday, 2 May 2008 14:03 (thirteen years ago) link

How did Encyclopedia Brown know that the time-traveling dinosaur hunter Tracer Hand was violating the laws of physics?

James Redd and the Blecchs, Friday, 2 May 2008 14:13 (thirteen years ago) link

(as set up in this story)

James Redd and the Blecchs, Friday, 2 May 2008 14:13 (thirteen years ago) link

unfortunately i violated the law of in-line Flash players.. upping a new version now

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 7 May 2008 16:04 (thirteen years ago) link

Have you read Ted Chiang's Nebula-winner from 2007 yet? Damn, what a smoothed-out gothick Arabick time travel joint!

Dimension 5ive, Wednesday, 7 May 2008 16:43 (thirteen years ago) link

oooh that looks good

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 7 May 2008 17:15 (thirteen years ago) link

Is that in Ted Chiang's book? I loved that book!

James Morrison, Wednesday, 7 May 2008 23:29 (thirteen years ago) link

I don't think it's in his book, it's a brand new story. Agreed that Chiang is a huge new talent, funny that he's never written an actual novel, and that's fine by me.

Dimension 5ive, Thursday, 8 May 2008 01:00 (thirteen years ago) link

i did not know there was a jorj mckie story done before whipping star — i just ordered a copy of 'the worlds of frank herbert', i'm kind of psyched

thomp, Thursday, 8 May 2008 09:31 (thirteen years ago) link

holy crap i've read that ted chiang now and it is STUPENDOUS

several hours after putting it down i wonder: is the whole story(-ies) an amazing scam to get the narrator back home?? who knows, i guess.

i've read something else by him but i can't remember what

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 8 May 2008 15:52 (thirteen years ago) link

oh yes - "story of your life", which i read in gardner dozois' "best of the best" SF anthology - it's about humans trying to work out how to communicate with aliens, who are hovering over the earth to no apparent purpose and have dropped little looking glass objects which basically act like videophones - i remember it being intricate and graceful

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 8 May 2008 15:58 (thirteen years ago) link

if you have ever read his tower of babel story you will never ever ever ever forget it, it is WAU X 100000000% A+++ sproing boner time

Dimension 5ive, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:23 (thirteen years ago) link

Huh, I started writing a post earlier where I praised that collection, EXCEPT for that story! I found it dreadfully dull, and was annoyed that it went for what felt like the obvious ending as well.
Maybe I should re-read it. Anyhoo, his short story collection "Story of Your Life" is ace, and right up there with Greg Egan's "Axiomatic".

Harry Harrison's The Technicolor Time Machine might be of interest while you're at it with the time travel stories. It's a short novel where a buncha fellows travel back in time to make a historical movie about the vikings or something. I didn't like the humor, so I gave up on it pretty quickly, but I gather that a lot of people are fond of it.

Not quite the same, but Orson Scott Card had a pretty nifty, though gruesome, story about an outlawed company that offers people a way to get their young bodies back.

I just googled for "A Gun for Dinosaur", since I'm not familiar with it (never read any De Camp) There's a delightful 50s radio recording of it here: http://ia300109.us.archive.org/3/items/XMinus1_A/xminusone_560307_AGunForDinosaur.mp3
It's grand! Turns out archive.org is full of that stuff: http://www.archive.org/details/XMinus1_A (this site may be a better portal, as it has short text introductions)

Øystein, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:56 (thirteen years ago) link

I'm really not fond of the Bradbury tale. First of all 'cause of the science - now I know all this is really nitpicky and not Bradbury's fault since a lot of this wasn't known at this time but...

The story is supposedly an example of the "sensitive dependence on initial conditions" of chaos theory, and may even have lent its name to the popular phrase that describes this, "the butterfly effect". The trouble is, small changes in initial conditions are meant to lead to large changes down the line, but in the story a small change leads to a small change. Sure people can't spell anymore, and a different guy is President; but humans still exist, civilisation still exists, America still exists, even the safari company still exists. It's a view of history as being on rails, things always develop in the same way and the way things are now is more or less an inevitable endpoint, instead of one of countless googols of possibilites.

I also have issues with the descriptions of the T-Rex - it did not tower 30 feet over trees, it probably didn't run, and certainly not 100 yards in four seconds. Goddamn my rational unpoetic soul.

And y'know even ignoring all the above - what an egregiously irresponsible enterprise the safari company is. They know that killing a single insect can (or might) affect the whole of history yet a simple "stay on the path" warning is supposed to be sufficient? What about the path itself, although it's floating it must be denying light to a whole host of plant matter. What about the dinosaurs they kill? Sure they were going to die anyway but what if they fall in a different place, squashing a mouse which otherwise would have lived?

Ultimately I think that for this kind of travel-to-the-past-affecting-the-future kind of story to be convincing one has to stay in the near past. Sorry to be a killjoy.

ledge, Thursday, 8 May 2008 18:58 (thirteen years ago) link

ledge did you listen to the show? we talk about almost everything you mention! (except for the height of the t-rex)

Tracer Hand, Friday, 9 May 2008 00:23 (thirteen years ago) link

bradbury almost reaches the sublime with his ending but the framing device of the election is too tempting and he crams that in too; but there's an extraordinary paragraph where eckels exits the time machine, stands there, and "drinks in the oddness" of everything, the air smells slightly off, he feels as though someone's blowing a dog whistle somewhere - this is EXACTLY the kind of thing that ought to happen as the result of stepping on a butterfly - but yeah then he steps back from that

Tracer Hand, Friday, 9 May 2008 00:26 (thirteen years ago) link

Yeah I did listen, I got the bit about the ridiculousness of the whole safari idea but didn't catch anything about chaos theory - maybe i missed it. That's the trouble with listening to radio on the internet, I always go "ooh since I'm on the internet I'll just check out this thing, I can read and listen at the same time, right?" Wrong, obviously. Will listen harder next time!

ledge, Friday, 9 May 2008 10:49 (thirteen years ago) link

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