Douglas Lain. Noam Chomsky and the Time Box. (Interzone #232, Jan-Feb 2011)

The time travel trope has been trodden pretty flat, so it’s a pleasure to read a story that does a couple of things quite innovative with the topic.

Lain posits a very near future where time travel has become pretty much a simple functionality of the handheld tech that is increasingly taking over our lives. And it’s not a functionality that has really taken off, as the general public pretty much give it a meh on account of the fundamental impossibility of changing the past.

Blogger Jeff Morris decides to test whether the past is indeed inviolate, and instead of heading back in time to Hitler, Shakespeare or other regularly visited historical figures in time travel fiction, he decides that engineering a conversation between Noam Chomsky and Terence McKenna at Gate 23 of O’Hara airport in the early 1970s is what he wants to do. It’s a clever choice, in a clever story, and Lain gives a thinking person’s view on time travel, freed up as he is from not having to get involved with causation conundrums or butterflies or grandfather paradoxes.

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