Sunday, November 12, 2023

"My Own Theory, If Reduced to Practice, Would Prove Not To Be Paradoxical At All"

"Pangborn's Paradox."
By David Mason (Samuel Mason, 1924-74) (ISFDb HERE; SFE HERE).
Illustrated by Richard Kluga (HERE).
First appearance: Infinity, June 1958.
Reprints page (HERE).
Short short story (5 pages).
Online at Project Gutenberg (HERE).

   "So you know all the punchlines to the old kill-your-own-grandfather gag, eh? Wanna bet?"

. . . and it's on a bet that Pangborn will seek to demonstrate just how paradoxical his paradox really is—or isn't . . .

Main characters:
~ Randall:
  "'Can't kill grandpa,' Doctor Randall said, from far down in his comfortable chair. 'No such thing as time travel'."
~ Pangborn:
  "'You underestimate the Physics department,' Pangborn told us coldly. 'In spite of heavy losses to our staff—last year's treason trials cost us three of our most brilliant young men—we've made some very remarkable strides. We have what is crudely termed a time machine—although the correct term is temporal transducer. In fact we are currently conducting some very interesting researches with it'."
~ Von Juntz:
  "'But,' Von Juntz reminded him, 'by your own statement you said it, that there is no paradox, and no risk. Grandpa would be dead, you would be alive, and there is no paradox, yes?'"
~ Grandpa Pangborn:
  ". . . at the bar was only one solitary customer, a tall lean man in a frock coat and plug hat with a cigar from which smoke curled richly, and a schooner of beer before him. He looked up at the bar mirror, and we saw a lean, evilly humorous face with the Pangborn features clearly marked on it. 'Grandpa,' Von Juntz whispered."

Reference and resources:
- "Von Juntz liked to look like a nineteenth century Heidelberger":
  For centuries the university in Heidelberg has enjoyed a universal respect due to its intellectual firepower:
  "In 1810 the French revolution refugee Count Charles Graimberg began to preserve the palace ruins and establish a historical collection. In 1815, the Emperor of Austria, the Emperor of Russia and the King of Prussia formed the 'Holy Alliance' in Heidelberg. In 1848, the German National Assembly was held there. In 1849, during the Palatinate-Baden rebellion of the 1848 Revolutions, Heidelberg was the headquarters of a revolutionary army. It was defeated by a Prussian army near Waghaeusel. The city was occupied by Prussian troops until 1850. Between 1920 and 1933, Heidelberg University became a center of notable physicians Czerny, Erb, and Krehl; and humanists Rohde, Weber, and Gandolf." (Wikipedia HERE.)
- If you found today's story interesting, then you might find Sgt. Mort Weisinger's "Thompson's Time-Traveling Theory" (HERE) worth a look.
- However, you'll probably never regard time travel quite the same after you've followed Ben Hardy on his adventures (HERE).
Bottom line:
  "Edith Keeler must die."
   — Spock

Unless otherwise noted, all bibliographical data are derived from The FictionMags Index created by William G. Contento & edited by Phil Stephensen-Payne.

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