What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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SOLVED: Adult Fiction > SOLVED. Sci Fi book or short story: time travel by crossing bridge over molten ”chrono” metal river of time. Hero uses it to stalk a girl, is obsessed with 70s Rock music, creates multiple copies of self [s]

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message 1: by Steven (new)

Steven Sapir | 18 comments I read this paperback science fiction book, or possibly a short story in an anthology, in the late 70s or early 80s: set in the technologically advanced future, there is a town that has a peculiar feature—a “river of time” flows through it. The substance that flows through this river is a certain kind of liquid metal (called chrono-something-or-other) that has the property that the flow of this metal has an effect on the flow of time. The people of the town use this to time-travel. They have built a bridge over the river. Crossing the bridge allows you to travel in time.

The protagonist is obsessed with crossing the time bridge over and over again to to revisit a particular time and place in his (recent?) past— some event (I no longer recall the specifics of which) involving a young woman he is in love with/obsessed with. He’s basically stalking her through time. Eventually we end up with multiple copies of this guy littering the landscape, all spying on this one girl.

This young man who is the protagonist lives in the future of our earth but he’s obsessed with what is the past to him. He is a loner and disdains the culture and music of his time. Instead, when he’s not traipsing over the time bridge, he spends his time moping around listening to rock music from the 1970s, which he also seems to be obsessed with.

Please help! I’ve spent years trying to find this but googling “time river” and “time-travel bridge” produces lot of misses, which us why I think it might have been a short story in a sci-fi anthology. However, do remember the cover artwork is from the story—It show the time river and the guy crossing the bridge — I distinctly remember the time river being multi-colored—so maybe it was a book after all?


message 2: by Lee (new)

Lee Kuivinen | 24 comments It's on of the five stories in AN INFINITE SUMMER by Christopher Priest. (Two of the stories are similar).


message 3: by Lee (new)

Lee Kuivinen | 24 comments An update: The illustration you recall seems to be that of the January 1979 issue of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, where the story "Palely Loitering" was published before it was included in AN INFINITE SUMMER book.


message 4: by Steven (new)

Steven Sapir | 18 comments Lee Kuivinen, YES! Palely Loitering has got to be it.

I am absolutely flabbergasted how quickly you found it. I’ve been googleing every combination I could think of of “Sci fi”, “time travel”, “time river”, “bridge” etc., for YEARS! Please tell me, what am I doing wrong? Teach me your secrets! Seriously.

The one I read forty years ago was indeed the Jan 1979 MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION. I found the cover online and instantly recognized it (such an strange sensation, that sudden flash of recognition of something not seen in forty years). I read the plot summaries of Palely Loitering, and that must be it. The one difference was that I remembered him revisiting an event in the past but in the story it is in the future.

Any suggestions on how I can get ahold of the actual story? I can’t find it on Amazon. I want to see if my recollection of the protagonist’s obsession with 70s rock music was really part of the story or my own fabrication. Its interesting to see how much of our memories are reliable and how much is our own invention.

Thank you again!!!


message 5: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 39280 comments Mod
According to Worldcat it's in the following anthologies:

An Infinite Summer

As Time Goes By

The Best Science Fiction Novellas of the Year 2

Episodes

The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF


(Worldcat.org is a good source for finding short stories - in the search box type the story name in parentheses followed by author's last name.)


message 6: by Steven (new)

Steven Sapir | 18 comments Thank you Lobestergirl, Worldcat.org looks to be an invaluable resource.


message 7: by Rosa (new)

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5198 comments Do you know in which anthology you read it, Steven?


message 8: by Steven (new)

Steven Sapir | 18 comments Ok I just re-read Palely Loitering for the first time in over 40 years and I feel I should report that, contrary to how I said I remembered it, the protagonist was obsessed NOT with 1970s rock music but rather with nineteenth century romantic poetry.

And yet I was so certain about the 70s rock music element—it was one of the things I remembered distinctly and enjoyed most about the story whenever I thought about it over the many (40!) years since I had originally read it. I wonder why—had I made this piece of the story it up? or was I confusing it with an element from another story I had read? Is there another science fiction story out there set in the future where the protagonist is obsessed with rock music from the 1970’s? Should I post another query to find out?

Has anybody else had such strong misrememberings?


message 9: by Steven (new)

Steven Sapir | 18 comments Rosa: It turns out I hadn’t read it in an anthology per se, but rather in a periodical science fiction magazine: the January 1979 issue of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION. I looked up the cover of that particular issue and I recognized the artwork.

I have just finished re-reading Palely Wanderings and it is even better than I remembered it! It can be found in several anthologies where the story was published after first appearing in THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION. See Lobstergirl’s list above. I downloaded The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF to Kindle to read it because it was the cheapest.


message 10: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 39280 comments Mod
Steven wrote: "Has anybody else had such strong misrememberings?"

Yes, it's extremely common to misremember details. Even major details. A perusal of solved threads in the group will reveal this.


message 11: by Rosa (new)

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5198 comments Steven wrote: "Ok I just re-read Palely Loitering for the first time in over 40 years and I feel I should report that, contrary to how I said I remembered it, the protagonist was obsessed NOT with 1970s rock musi c but rather with nineteenth century romantic poetry.

And yet I was so certain about the 70s rock music element—it was one of the things I remembered distinctly and enjoyed most about the story whenever I thought about it over the many (40!) years since I had originally read it. I wonder why—had I made this piece of the story it up? or was I confusing it with an element from another story I had read? Is there another science fiction story out there set in the future where the protagonist is obsessed with rock music from the 1970’s? Should I post another query to find out?"


Ooh, I hope you do! I’d love to read that!


message 12: by Steven (new)

Steven Sapir | 18 comments Ok, Rosa, I will! :D Here goes nothing...!


message 13: by Steven (new)

Steven Sapir | 18 comments Livstergirl: this is a fascinating subject to me. These forums hold a potential treasure trove for researchers investigating how our memory behaves!


message 14: by Lee (new)

Lee Kuivinen | 24 comments I don't really have a secret for identifying stories. I just happened to read "Palely Loitering" more recently than you did (a few years ago) and had a copy of the book until recently. I did, however, find the illustration by doing a Google Image search for "Palely Loitering". I recommend the Index to Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections (http://www.philsp.com/homeville/ISFAC...). It's great for finding which stories are in which anthologies, etc.


message 15: by Steven (new)

Steven Sapir | 18 comments Thank you so much Lee Kuivinen! That index is a valuable resource.


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