Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Flaw in the Lord Harrington Scenario

The Flaw in the Lord Harrington Scenario, a short story by Steve Peck starts out with the main character naked bleeding in a forest in an unknown place and time. Immediately he begins to beat himself, holding a rock and pounding it against his chest, arm, one of his eyes and finally his nose. He then lays himself down on a street, waiting for the famous and kind hearted Lord Harrington.

The reader has to ask, "what is going on?" It doesn't make any sense. And I have to say, the odd beginning had me hooked. I needed to know more. I needed to understand why someone would willingly inflict this kind of pain on themselves. We find out soon.

The man we learn to call Dr. Benjamin Quay is not from the 19th century, when Lord Harrington lived, but from the future. A future where time travel has been made possible. However, the world in which Quay comes is ending. In a last attempt to save humanity from an asteroid nearing Earth time travel into the past becomes a reality. But here is the catch. Not only do you travel back in time, but you travel to another dimension with no belongings and no way of ever returning.

This concept, I feel is fascinating. The ability to travel back in time, however there is a horrible catch. One that would only be used in the situation that is presented: The end of the world. You travel back to the point to designate--into another dimension and time. What effects come from this blunt disturbance in space and time?

Steve brings us such a hauntingly original idea in The Flaw in the Lord Harrington Scenario of the affects of time travel and the price that is paid in traveling back through time, space as well as into another dimension.

Please click on the link to read the full short story:


Robert Vollman said...

In Star Trek "All Our Yesterdays" the crew of the Enterprise visits planet Sarpeidon, which is about to be destroyed when it's sun goes supernova.

Captain Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy beam down are surprised to see that everyone was gone, despite the fact that they didn't have space travel.

Turns out that all the citizens had travelled back into that world's own past.
- Captain Kirk winds up accidentally finding himself on that planet's equivalent of England, in the Restoration Period, and
- Spock and McCoy accidentally find themselves in the ice age.

I won't ruin the episode, but it's a good one. Obviously the authors of this short story would agree.

Matsby said...

Wow, I really loved this story. I really like how the ideas of the multi-universe/diverging timelines were explored. How they would work and why two people cannot go back at the same time. I also really liked the idea of the classes they took in preparation - and, like in most good time travel stories, the twist at the end.

I have read another book by Peck and I'm currently working on a project with him that I am excited about. He's a great writer!