David Erik Nelson. The Traveling Salesman Solution. (Fantasy and Science Fiction, July/August 2014)

fsf20140708An anomalous result in a local marathon race causes an invalided ex-soldier to explore just how this one strange dude could manage such good times, especially one race in which he is wearing a variety of footwear and clothing at each photograph en route.

The light tone gets darker very suddenly, as the nature of the technological invention comes to light. If you’re not familiar with the travelling salesman problem it’s helpfully explained. As is the implications of having that processing power suddenly available, and the risks of that happening.

The story is a sort of complement to Nelson’s No Sound of Thunder from Asimovs June 2014, which was a most excellent time travelling tale.

Mind you, I’d have preferred a slightly more upbeat ending to this story!

More from this issue here.

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