Friday, June 21, 2019

"The Cops Are Looking for Me All Through Time"

"A Thief in Time."
By Robert Sheckley (1928-2005).
Illustrations by [Charles] Beck (HERE).

First appearance: Galaxy, July 1954.
Reprints page (HERE).
Novelette (26 pages).
Online at (HERE).

     "Imagine a famous guy like this being a crook."

As far back as he can remember, a mild-mannered college professor has never done anything bad enough to warrant being arrested, never mind being executed, so why is it that no matter where—or when—he goes, people are trying to kill him?

~ Thomas Eldridge:

  "You know, all I ever really wanted was a warm drowsy country, books, congenial neighbors, and the love of a good—"
~ Viglin:
  "It worked out perfectly for me—until now."
~ Captain of Police:
  "We're pretty rough on time theft. Temporal offense."
~ The patriarch:
  "You are guilty of sabotage and murder."
~ The jailor:
  "We have no lawyers here. Here we have justice."
~ Morgel:
  "Hanging is too good for him. He should be drawn, quartered, burned and scattered to the wind."
~ Becker:
  "I know how you feel, Morgel, but he will pay for his crimes on the gallows."

- It's while Eldridge is reading a book that we're told: "The author began with the classic paradox of Achilles and the tortoise"; see (HERE; Wikipedia) and, at greater length, (HERE; Platonic Realms) for Zeno's Paradox.
- Our list of crime-related time travel stories seems to get longer every time we turn around, the latest being Anthony Boucher's "Elsewhen" (HERE) .

- It amazes us that the last time we encountered Robert Sheckley was almost three years ago, with his "Killer's Masquerade" (HERE) and the classic "Seventh Victim" (HERE); we first fea-tured his technoproleptic "Watchbird" (HERE).

The bottom line:

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