From How Not To Do Time Travel:
You could fault me my lack of curiosity; not listening to what else Finnegan might have said, if I’d played along better, pretended I believed him, let him drive the conversation. Or you might judge my lack of sympathy for a man who was so obviously in distress. You haven’t done the job I did for six years. You can fault anything you like. I’d dealt with more madness than any reasonable person should, in those years. I had little patience for it; especially when it came so very close to me. I was defensive. My defensiveness blinded me to matters of greater importance than I gave them at the time.
I really don’t have to explain myself. Though, you clever folks might point out that, by writing this, I obviously feel I have to explain myself. That’s true. I can’t deny it. But it’s not all about explaining my actions, or my motivations, or trying to convince you that I did the best I could. It’s about leaving a record for everyone to read along the way which might reverse this mess. Or you could think this is just a nice story, entertain yourself for a while, and disregard it. I suppose that’s allright too.
I sat on the detritus which had been Philip’s office, where he had worked for twenty-three years as a clark, always in to work on time, always focused on meeting his data quotas without errors, and held his hand until he died.
Philip had a wife Miranda, to whom I was supposed to say that he loved her very much, and two children: Sally, who was at University studying Physics, and Timothy, who had been an unexpected but welcome late addition to the family, and was still in secondary school. I was to tell Sally he was very proud of her, and tell Tim to look after his mother and sister. I would be doing none of that, but I wasn’t lying when I assured Philip that I would.
I meant it at the time, but, well, things got in the way after that. One day, if I ever get my own timeline sorted, if Miranda and Sally and Timothy still exist, I’ll visit their modest home in the suburbs and tell them what Philip told me so long ago. Assuming it is still long ago. It might be before, and then, maybe, I can tell Philip to stay home that day.
People like to keep things simple, so they can go ahead and complicate them for themselves. Most have a special talent for the complications, managing to spread them beyond the borders of their own existence until they engulf the reality of all those around them. This can spread, as an airborne disease spreads, until everyone catches it and the complication spreads to encompass whole communities. That’s what we call society. This is why people are unhappy. They want the simple things, but they’ve contracted society. They can’t possibly feel well.
That’s why I try to live alone. Far from the nearest infected person, avoiding communities. You never know what you’re going to catch.
I catch fish.
Mel Continue reading AIM: The Alliance of Incidental Magi
The thousand years war was a very bad idea which stuck—until everyone was so used to it they might have missed the chaos if peace ever broke out.