never suppress your paradoxes


Writer and blogger Matthew Wright posted the photo below and challenged readers to write a 150-200 word story inspired by it. His post is here. My story squeaks in at 196 words, plus the title. I carefully carved away words one at time to bring it down to this svelte size.

It’s silly science fiction. I think it’s kinda lame, but there’s a wonderful outside-the-story twist. Matthew posted his prompt on February 2, and I’m responding on February 1 (different sides of the dateline, you know). Perfect for the theme of my story.

A Monument to Martha

This was Martha’s greatest creation. That says a lot, because she’d also invented the fusion incinerator and the matter blender; two conveniences that are now taken for granted, but once seemed miraculous. The newest miracle — the Reverse Temporal Vehicle.

It was just like her to put it in an art deco frame on wheels. As if the first time-displacement device wasn’t grand enough, she had to wrap the machine in elegant steel stripes and boastfully drive it.

Martha announced that she would drive backwards in time to 1931 New York City for the grand opening of another art deco classic, the Empire State Building. Before departing, she showed reporters her amazing invention, emphasizing the beautiful detailing and anti-paradox shielding.

No one knows what went wrong, but to this day we see her gorgeous machine protruding from the 23rd floor of the famous building. The rear is visible from the street. The front, where poor Martha sat, is fused with the building’s steel and limestone.

The paradox shielding had prevented her from ever learning about the silvery, wheeled outcrop in the building that mysteriously appeared in 1931. If known, it might have given her second thoughts.



2 thoughts on “never suppress your paradoxes

  1. Excellent story! Anti-paradox shielding is an absolute must for time travellers. Curiously, the Napier deco theme emerged in 1931 – that very year of your story – after a massive earthquake destroyed the centre of the city. Possibly on the strength of the book I wrote on the Napier quake, I was invited as a VIP guest to an ‘earthquake survivor’ afternoon tea held by the City Council last Sunday but declined because I like 300 km from the city these days and there was no mention of covering my transport costs… (they could have sent one of the deco buses if they hadn’t ditched them for cost reasons…)

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