Saturday, December 11, 2021

"Three Wilted Red Roses and a Gun"

"Half-Past Fear."
By John Jakes (born 1932).
Illustration by Paul Callé (1928-2010; HERE).
First appearance: Super Science Stories, August 1951.
Short short story (8 pages).
Reprinted in Super Science Stories (Canada), August 1951 and the Argosy Special: Science Fiction, 1977.
Online at (HERE) and The Luminist Archives (HERE; go down to text page 50).
     "He pointed the gun at her. She noticed his eyes, intense now, the peaceful quality gone. She wanted to scream."

Much like the Bard centuries ago, a man with no future will come to realize how inexorably "Time's fell hand" moves across life, that eventually—and against everything he does—it 
"will come and take my love away" . . . .

Main characters:
~ Vincent Deem:
  "She was a lovely woman, the only one who has ever loved me."
~ David:
  "Where do you come from?"
~ Sari:
  ". . . laughed at first, and then she grew frightened, and ran to her mother . . ."
~ Julia:
  "He is very strange. Very strange indeed."
~ The young man:
  "I've been here since yesterday, hunting you."
~ Mrs. Childs:
  "Twice dead, and the roses."

- Is history immutable, incapable of being changed even if there's a time machine handy? There have been a lot of furrowed brows over that vexatious question. Peruse the following chart and decide into which one, if any, of the following theories our story would seem to fit:
- Our latest encounter with John Jakes was with his story "With Intent to Kill" (HERE).


  1. Of all science fiction concept time travel is the most implausible. And yet it fascinates me.