Table of Contents Title Page Copyright Page Acknowledgements Introduction
The Authentic Touch
Been a Long Time
Limited Time Offer
A Portrait of Time
But I’m Not the Only One
It’s Just a Matter of Time
Time Sharing - Jody Lynn Nye
Two Tickets to Paradise
The World of Null-T
Bruck in Time
Memories of Light and Sound
A Night to Forget
A Passion for Time Travel
No Man’s Land
By Our Actions
ABOUT THE EDITORS
The man in the shadows calls his name.
Something hits him hard from behind. He hears two quick pops —some part of his brain tellshim it is gunfire, but it doesn’t sound nearly as loud as he’d imagined—and glass breaking.
Yoko whips around, screaming.
“I’m shot,” he gasps.
“No,” says a voice in his ear. “You’re not. Not this time.”
He realizes then that the thing that hit him was a man, another lurker who must have sprung out
of the darkness and tackled him like an American footballer, right before the gunshots started.
The pain and breathlessness aren’t from bullets in his chest, but because this big man is
lying on top of him, covering him with his body. Protecting him. “Who are you?” he grunts.
“A fan,” says the voice in his ear. “For forty years, ever since I was a boy. It’s an honor
to meet you, Mr. Lennon.”
John has just enough time to think: that doesn’t make sense. I’m only forty. Then bluelightning flashes and his mouth floods with acid and his stomach drops ten miles into the earth
and all of it—the Dakota, the madman with the gun, Yoko—it all disappears.
—from “But I’m Not the Only One” by Chris Pearson
Also Available from DAW Books:
Zombie Raccoons and Killer Bunnies, edited by
Martin H. Greenberg and Kerrie Hughes
The fifteen tales included here range from chilling to humorous, from fairy-tale settings tohigh-tech situations. What they share is originality and critters. From an ongoing conflictbetween chickens and killer bunnies, to a raccoon ready to defend its own at any cost . . .from a look at a true book wyrm to the adventures of ninja rats . . . from a Siamese cat inleague with a super squirrel to a story about the white bull of Tara—you’ll find tales aboutboth the creatures you see around you every day, and those you should hope never to meet. Withstories from Jody Lynn Nye, Anton Strout, Fiona Patton, Nina Kiriki Hoffmann, Richard LeeByers, P.R. Frost and others.
The Trouble With Heroes, edited by Denise
This anthology is all about the other side of heroism. From what it’s like to be Hercules’wife, to the trials of H. P. Lovecraft’s house-keeper, to the perils of being a giant ape’sgirlfriend, to the downside of dating a shapeshifter, to getting too up close and personal withthe Greek gods, here are the behind-the-scenes stories that give heroism some entirely newtwists. So before you start daydreaming about days of old and knights so bold, take a look atwhat it could really mean to live out the fantasies in stories by author such as Jean Rabe,Nina Kiriki Hoffmann, Phaedra Weldon, Laura Resnick, Peter Orullian, Janna Silverstein,Kristine Katherine Rusch and others.
Spells of the City,edited by Jean Rabe and
Martin H. Greenberg
Cities can be magical places to visit, with so many things to see and do. But what if there aretrue magic-workers and magical beings in the cities of our world—under bridges, lurking inalleyways, hiding in subway tunnels, or perhaps living in the apartment next door? So venturenow where a troll may be your toll collector on the George Washington Bridge . . . Harry theBook will be happy to place your bets in a spellbinding alternate New York . . . while agargoyle finds himself left to a lonely rooftop existence when he’s forced to live by hiscreator’s rules . . . and leprechauns must become bank robbers to keep up with the demand fortheir gold. And these are just a few of the denizens you’ll meet in a multitude of urbancenters that have been touched by the fantastic, in stories by Timothy Zahn, Mike Resnick, C.J.Henderson, Linda P. Baker, Michael A. Stackpole, Brian M. Thomsen and more.
Copyright ? 2010 by Tekno Books and Jean Rabe
All Rights Reserved.
DAW Book Collectors No. 1504.
DAW Books is distributed by Penguin Group (USA).
All characters and events in this book are fictitious.
All resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental.
The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or any other means
without the permission of the publisher is illegal, and punishable by law. Please purchase only
authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of
copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
First Printing, March 2010
DAW TRADEMARK REGISTERED
U.S. PAT. AND TM. OFF. AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES
HECHO EN U.S.A.
eISBN : 978-1-101-18563-6
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS “A Timely Introduction,” copyright ? 2010 by Jean Rabe “The Authentic Touch,” copyright ? 2010 by Word Fire, Inc. “Timeless Lisa,” copyright ? 2010 by Robert E. Vardeman “Been a Long Time,” copyright ? 2010 by Matthew P. Mayo “Unsolved Histories,” copyright ? 2010 by Greg Cox “Limited Time Offer,” copyright ? 2010 by Dean Leggett “The Shaman,” copyright ? 2010 by Annie Jones “A Portrait of Time,” copyright ? 2010 by Kelly Swails “But I’m Not the Only One,” copyright ? 2010 by Chris Pierson “It’s Just a Matter of Time,” copyright ? 2010 by James M. Ward “Time Sharing,” copyright ? 2010 by Jody Lynn Nye “Two Tickets to Paradise,” copyright ? 2010 by Vicki Steger “The World of Null- T,” copyright ? 2010 by Gene DeWeese “Bruck in Time,” copyright ? 2010 by Patrick McGilligan “Memories of Light and Sound,” copyright ? 2010 by Steve Saus “A Night to Forget,” copyright ? 2010 by C.A. Verstraete “A Passion for Time Travel,” copyright ? 2010 by Donald J. Bingle “No Man’s Land,” copyright ? 2010 by Allister Timms “By Our Actions,” copyright ? 2010 by Michael A. Stackpole “Spoilers,” copyright ? 2010 by Linda P. Baker
A Timely Introduction
I f it was truly possible to vacation in time, I would visit early America on the off chanceI’d meet Benjamin Franklin. I always thought it would be great to share a meal with him andtalk about politics and electricity. Maybe fly a kite together. George Washington could joinus—I’m still curious about the whole wooden teeth thing. And I’d like to chat with ThomasJefferson about his recommended authors. After all, Jefferson wrote one of my all-time favoritequotes: “I cannot live without books.”
So early America for me.
But just for one of my timely sojourns.
Then there’s Rome in the time of Caesar—I could spend a week or two there. I studied Latin inhigh school and have kept up with it enough that on a good day I just might be able to make itthrough a marketplace to sample the wines and wares. I’ve no interest in watching whateverbloody act would be taking place in any arena.
Or maybe I’d go back to see the very first football game ever. I am a football junkie. Thatwould be a seriously delicious kick, especially if I could get a seat on the 50-yard line.
I think I’d even give prehistoric Africa a try, just to see the dinosaurs. Real dinosaurs, not
Jurassic Park and the like.the skeletons on display in museums or the cinematic ones of
Yeah, now that I’m thinking about it, if I was going to take a vacation in time it would haveto be for the dinosaurs.
Up close and personal with a stegosaurus first, then a meet-and-greet with Ben Franklin.
Fortunately for you, the authors in this collection went to all manner of interesting placesnot on my list—a veritable whirlwind tour across the globe and through the centuries. Theyopened my eyes to some interesting possibilities.
Allister Timms took a risky vacation during World War I. Robert Vardeman went looking for acostly work of art, Jody Lynn Nye discovered a classic romance, and Vicki Steger foundparadise. Greg Cox’s traveler found danger, Chris Pierson’s found John Lennon, and MichaelStackpole’s found Jesus.
Each vacation in this anthology will stir your imagination and make you think about your ownpossible Timeshares journey.
Where would you go?
Or, more precisely, when would you go?
Enjoy the trips Timeshares offers up in this collection.
Me? After reading all of the tales I’m thinking paradise might not be so bad. Maybe I couldtake John Lennon and Leonardo da Vinci with me.
The Authentic Touch
Kevin J. Anderson
Kevin J. Anderson is the author of more than one hundred novels, forty-seven of which haveappeared on national or international bestseller lists. He has more than twenty million booksin print in thirty languages. He has won or been nominated for numerous prestigious awards,including the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the SFX Reader’s Choice Award, the AmericanPhysics Society’s Forum Award, and the New York Times Notable Book Award.
Mainz, Germany, 1452
A ll these dirty, crowded medieval towns looked the same to him. He double-checked the smallglowing screen on his locator/communicator/emergency signal. Yes, Mainz, Germany. 1452. Righton target.
He was no historian and had no aspirations to become one. To him, historical settings were tobe studied on an entertainment screen or read in a novel, not to be experienced firsthand. Buta job was a job . . . and the job had taken him here.
His name was Bill—“Bill the PR Man.” Not a very memorable name, but his parents had givenhim little to work with. Bill Smith, not even a middle name. When he’d started his career,talking himself up to various corporations and showing off his skills, Bill had consideredchanging his name. Maybe something that would leave a more distinctive and powerfulimpression—“Brom Zanderley”—or stuffy and imposing—“P. Jason Higgenbotham”—but he was Bill , and he felt like Bill , and so he turned the disadvantage into a focus, making the verysimplicity his calling card. Bill, the PR Man.
Honesty, veracity, authenticity. “I want your clientele to remember you , not me,” he told
his customers. The name and that attitude had served him very well.
And now it had taken him across the centuries just to do a simple brochure. But it was perhapsthe most important contract job in his career.
In Mainz, he drew a deep breath, driving back the dizziness and the slight nausea that alwaysresulted from traveling through time. For some reason, though no other travelers had mentionedit, Bill always tasted vinegar in the back of his throat during a transport. Other peopleexperienced severe waves of diarrhea for the first hour; given the alternative, he preferredthe vinegar taste.
The night was dim, and fog seeped along the streets, but the swirling mists did little tolessen the stench. Once a person traveled back more than a few decades, Bill had found that allhistorical places carried a definite and oppressive odor . Not surprising, considering the
lack of hygiene, the garbage and sewage, even dead bodies lying around. He couldn’t imagineanyone wanting to vacation under conditions like this. But he certainly wouldn’t call
attention to the unpleasantness in the promotional literature. Rose-colored glasses, softfocus, a bit of license with descriptive language . . . while still keeping that authentictouch.
From a tavern at the other end of the alley he could hear loud Germanic voices singing andarguing. High overhead, a thick-armed woman opened the shutters of a window and poured thecontents of a chamber pot down into the street, missing Bill by only a few yards. He hurriedaway, shouting up at the impolite person, “Watch what you’re doing!” But of course she didnot understand modern English, and he received a volley of curses right back.
Bill moved out of the alley toward a wider street, getting his bearings. He wore periodcostume—scratchy fabric, rough and uncomfortable seams. Surreptitiously, he glanced down atthe screen of his locator again. The techs had missed the target by two blocks. Not bad,considering the centuries crossed but they would have to fine-tune their skills before largewaves of customers signed up for the Timeshares service. It would really ruin a vacation if acustomer materialized through time on the wrong side of a cliff . . . or in the middle of a
crowded square in colonial New England where people might be inclined to point and cry out, “Awitch! A witch!”
Scouts had gone ahead to chart all the locations, as they would for any approved vacation. Billconsulted the photos and saw what he was looking for—a nondescript print shop, although itwasn’t exactly called a “print shop” yet. Nobody in 1452 Mainz was going to run down to thecorner to make quick copies.
All the cramped businesses on the street were closed up and shuttered for the night. Timesharesheadquarters had chosen the late hour intentionally, but night watchmen prowled up and down thestreets carrying lanterns, and Bill did not want to bump into the medieval equivalent of astreet gang.
Walking along, studying the buildings in the dim light, he compared the doors of the shops tothe photo taken by the scouts. It was a very distinctive place. He found the correct door. Hepaused, looking up at the half-timbered structure, the window box cluttered with dead flowers,water stains and moss on the plaster. Not much to look at. Sooner or later, there wouldprobably be a placard hanging outside, but so far no one knew what Johannes Gutenberg was doingin there and printing that enormous Bible, at forty-two lines per page, was going to take him awhile.
The thick iron padlock hanging from the door latch was the height of medieval security, butwith a screwdriver, a lock pick, and a little trial and error, Bill easily removed it andslipped inside a darkened workshop that smelled of ink, wood shavings, and cat urine. Now therewas one detail the history books hadn’t included.
He clicked on his bright and totally anachronistic flashlight so he could look around, thenopened his leather satchel to remove the stack of tan, rough-surfaced sheets of papyrus. Theywere still moist and still smelled a little rotten from the manufacturing process; they hadbeen made only two days ago, back at the Nile Delta in the first century A.D.
Bill had traveled back to ancient Egypt to obtain the actual papyrus—again, for the authentictouch. He had, however, underestimated how difficult it was just to pick up some paper. Sincepapyrus was a common substance in Egypt at the time, he thought he could just go down to amarketplace and pick up a ream.
Though Bill did not speak the difficult language, the ancient Egyptians along the Nile wereaccustomed to strange merchants coming from far-off lands. Near the open-air, reed-roofed shop,workers harvested the tall green sedge from the swamp, peeling the stalks to take out the pith,laying down strips, crisscrossing them, pounding them, pressing and drying the sheets, thenscraping them smooth with a well-worn seashell.
Bill had paid the papyrus maker well and had received fifty rough-cut sheets, enough for thefirst printing of the Timeshares brochure. Since the Timeshares Travel Agency advertizedauthenticity above all things, they couldn’t do any less with their promotional materials. Hehad already told Rolf Jacobsen, the mysterious and wealthy head of the agency, that thesebrochures must be used for only the most elite potential clients. He didn’t intend to gothrough all this hassle for a second printing.
Even more difficult than obtaining genuine papyrus had been securing the original artwork. Ithad sounded like a good idea. He’d gone to prehistoric France to track down a Neanderthaltribe, and he had commissioned original drawings from one of the cave painters. Attempting toart-direct a Neanderthal had been a challenge unlike anything else in his career, but Bill hadgotten his sketches, daubed and chalked onto flat pieces of slate, which he’d then taken backto the present and the headquarters of Timeshares, where the art could be scanned andincorporated into the brochure layout.
The final materials would also include photos of the time-travel facility, its high-techinterior with spindle-shaped apparatus topped by silvery spheres haloed by crackling staticelectricity. Rolf Jacobsen wanted it to look sleek, futuristic, high-tech, but in a “JulesVerne” sense rather than a “neon, hard-edged, Hong Kong” sense. So far the interior of
Timeshares had undergone numerous face-lifts and retoolings. Bill had no idea what the finalinterior was going to look like; it might even change weekly. In his opinion, the time-traveldevice looked more like something out of Dr. Frankenstein’s lab than a comforting and safegadget, but he didn’t say anything. His only priority was the sales brochure.
traveltimeBill had already written the text: “We’re not just a travel agency—we’re a agency. We offer excursions into the past and future. Take a vacation wherever and whenever youlike.”
Inside the dim workshop, Bill studied Gutenberg’s clumsy looking printing press, a cumbersomegadget whose design was based on an old wine press. Gutenberg’s workers would line up thesmall wooden letter blocks in the tracks, use an ink roller, and then crank down the press uponeach sheet of paper.
The next page of Gutenberg’s Bible had been set up for the following day’s printing. He tooka quick snapshot with his imaging device so that he could reassemble the letters when he wasdone, though he didn’t understand many of the German words or the too-fancy type style.“Quickly, his fingers rattling the wooden blocks by the glow of his flashlight, he slid allthe words off into a tray, and then painstakingly mounted his own letters, his own text.
“Afraid of flying? The high cost of gas got you down? Want to really get away? Step into our
perfectly safe time-travel device and find yourself in exotic historical locations. Adventureand mystery guaranteed, danger definitely possible. It’ll be the experience of a lifetime—ofanyone’s lifetime.”
The process of setting the letters was tedious, but authenticity was the most important thing.If Mr. Jacobsen advertized that his clients would experience real history, then the brochurehad to be the real thing. Fortunately, all of his promotional text fit onto a single page, evenwith Gutenberg’s large letter blocks.
As payment, in addition to Bill’s standard fee, Timeshares had offered him an excursion toanyplace he chose, any time. He could witness the greatest events in history, meet the mostimportant figures in all of human civilization. Instead, Bill had asked for a week in the mostluxurious resort in Cancun on the Caribbean coast. He had his priorities.
When he had the appropriate words in place, he used a stiff ink roller to cover the printingsurface with pasty ink. When it was ready, and before he could make a mess of things, he placeda sheet of clean papyrus on the flat block beneath the press and cranked down the letters,pushing hard to make a clear impression. Then he unscrewed the press, raised it up, and peeledoff his sheet of papyrus.
The rough surface of the reeds made the impression blurry and weak in certain spots, but theletters were readable. With so few sheets of papyrus, he couldn’t afford to make manymistakes. Not perfect, but authentic . That was what Mr. Jacobsen wanted.
Timeshares clients would coo over the imperfections and would marvel at the difficulties thathad been required just to make this flier. However, Bill didn’t think that the clients wouldbe quite so forgiving of imperfections when they encountered glitches on their very expensivetime-travel vacations. . . .
He balanced the flashlight where it would better illuminate the work area and put another pieceof papyrus under the press, rolled the ink over the printing surface, squeezed down the blockletters. He had to get through at least fifty sheets.
That Cancun resort was going to feel wonderful when he was done with this.
Bill finished printing the last sheet an hour before dawn. He didn’t think Mainz had a goodcoffee shop nearby, so he would have to return to the present for a good strong cup. Now it wastime to put everything back in order in Gutenberg’s print shop.
He called up the digitized baseline image he had taken, referring to the biblical words he haddisassembled. The verses weren’t familiar to him, especially not in old German. He pluckedout the letters he had used for the Timeshares brochure and began to realign the sentences andverses on the page. Bill realized he was short on time, and he moved quickly, several times