Dropping a Pebble in a Dry Well

Hello. My name is Demetri Thornwick. I’m a graduate student in physics at Hawking University, but in your century you probably know it as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I just left Professor Mendalin’s Temporal Physics class, where I just received a D- on my term paper. The paper was on Dr. Franklin’s theory of Negative Timeline Distortions. I won’t bore you with the physics, but it involves the effects of changes made when traveling back in time (aka, Timeline distortions). Now, nobody disputes that the timeline will be irrevocably disrupted if a time traveler makes a major change, like detonating a 100 terawatt EMF pulse bomb in Hollywood. In addition, nobody disputes that a minimal change, like dropping a pebble in a dry well, will not disrupt the future one iota. The arguments always center on the Maximum Disruption with Zero Consequences (MDZC). You know, what’s the most I can change without screwing up the primary timeline.

That’s why I’m overwriting this web page, to prove to Professor Mendalin that my grade should be increased. You see, my term paper predicted that changing an obscure twenty first century web site will produce zero consequences. However, Professor Mendalin argued that 2d/(c2-ga )1/2 is not valid when DT>200 years. And, based on that, my successive derivations were worthless. Frankly, he’s an idiot. And, when I prove him wrong, he’ll have to change my grade to an A.

It’s relatively simple to infiltrate your twenty first century internet using a Tachyon carrier beam. I can do it from here, and you see the results real time. Now, clearly, I cannot make a drastic change, like take ebay off-line for a few hours. That would absolutely collapse my timeline, and my century would cease to exist. So, I decided to go back to April 13, 2006 and delete a story from 365 Tomorrows, and replace it with this dialog. FYI, I chose 365 Tomorrows because it only has a modest following; certainly below the MDZC threshold. In addition, twenty-first century critics all agreed that fewer people read the stories of Kathy Kachelries than any of the other writers, which I why I chose today, because it lowers the MDZC threshold even more. Surely, a few thousand lonely sci-fi geeks can miss one apocalyptic story without the world coming to an end. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you’re all good people, but come on, you’re not a major thread in the tapestry of time. If my calculations are correct, the loss of that one boring story (less than two minutes of your life) will be equivalent to dro-ping a p-bble in a d-y we-l. Wh-t th- he-l is h-pen–g. -h, s-it…

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The Past

365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.

The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.

Flash Fiction

"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."

Kathy Kachelries
Founding Member


We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.

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