Timetracks

Timetracks

by Keith Laumer

One of the most prolific and gifted writers in a very fast field.

For science fiction is really where it's at these days.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Science Fiction
  • Rating: 3.63
  • Pages: 216
  • Publish Date: April 1972 by Ballantine Books
  • Isbn10: 034502575X
  • Isbn13: 9780345025753

Read the Book "Timetracks" Online

Then I started liking his writing again w/ Dinosaur Beach ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6... Timetracks is a collection of 5 stories written from 1963 to 1970. I've criticized John Brunner (&/or his publishers) by writing "Polymath (1974) is just a slight rewrite of Castaways World (1963) wch was part of an Ace Double." In other words, I expect the worst when I read a novel based on a novella or a short story or vice versa. In this case, I'm happy to say that the rewrite is more substantial & I enjoyed reading both the novel & the original story. Dinosaur Beach is 151pp & "Timesweepers" is 40pp. But, wait!, the changes become more substantial soon thereafter: ""You've made an error," Blackie said, and turned away. Half an inch of snow squeaked under our shoes as he tried to jerk free of the grip I took on his upper arm." - p 7, "Timesweepers" ""You've made an error," Blackie said, and turned away. Not only did the Karg gain 50 lbs, but the protagonist gained 50 IQ points: "For a fraction of a second, I had enjoyed an operative IQ which I estimated at a minimum of 250."(p 28, "Timesweepers") "For a fraction of a second, I had enjoyed an operative IQ which I estimated at a minimum of 300."(p 132, Dinosaur Beach) Gee, if I believed in God (I don't) I'd ask IT to rewrite my story so that I'm skinnier at age 61 & ask IT to make a few other improvements. From the end I could look down on the deck of the pseudo-galleon, snuggled up close against the resilient bumper at the end of the quay." - p 18, "Timesweepers" "A sense of vertigo that slowly faded; the gradual impingement of sensation: heat, and pressure against my side, a hollow, almost musical soughing and groaning, a sense of lift and fall, a shimmer of light through my eyelids, as from a reflective surface in constant restless movement. It takes some gumption to flaunt the old taboos." ""Mr. Lucifer came to fix the lights," Curlene said. ""Ahnot really," the young man said quickly." - p 48 I actually did know a young guy back in the mid 1980s who claimed that his parents named him "Lucifer". "By alien demons from another world."" - p 53 This is somewhat similar to something that I pointed out in Rudy Rucker's Postsingular: "One thing I like about Rucker's work is the way he explains fanciful mythology, angels, eg, by using contemporary General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (or ideas from other scientific arenas) - even if he is playing fast & loose w/ them." ( "Upping the Nante": https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/... Different physical laws, and so on" ""Dirac levels," Dimpleby said, signaling for refills." - p 54, Timetracks That, of course, stimulates me to look up "Dirac levels": "Imaging the two-component nature of DiracLandau levels in the topological surface state of Bi2Se3 "Ying-Shuang Fu, M. Sasagawa "Journal name: Nature Physics, Volume: 10, Pages: 815819, Year published:(2014), DOI: doi:10.1038/nphys3084 "Received 10 February 2014, Accepted 04 August 2014, Published online 14 September 2014 "Massless Dirac electrons in condensed matter are, unlike conventional electrons, described by two-component wavefunctions associated with the spin degrees of freedom in the surface state of topological insulators. The observed Landau-level splitting and internal structures of Landau orbits are distinct from those in a conventional electron system and are well reproduced by a two-component model Dirac Hamiltonian." - http://www.nature.com/nphys/journal/v... You mean like having the first flat tire in a year during the worst rainstorm of the year while on your way to the most important meeting of the year?"" - p 56 & THAT gives me a most adequate excuse for quoting myself. The idea was that I was too negative & I wanted to force myself to pay more attn to positive things that happened to me during each day for a yr. Here's a relevant excerpt: "Saturday, October 22nd, 2005EV "Ok, as is sometimes the case here, the day wasn't too promising on the "positive" end: I got a flat riding my bike to work in the cold rain, I fixed it in the rain, I got ANOTHER flat riding home from work in the rain, I tried to fix that one & failed. "Then I succeeded in fixing it enuf so it didn't get a flat on the way home from work." In "The Time Thieves" I had to laugh: A guy gets hired to protect a collection of valuable paintings by staying in the vault w/ them: "Dan looked around at the gray walls, with shelves stacked to the low ceiling with wrapped paintings. It was a gaily colored view of an open-air café, with a group of men and women in gay-ninetyish costumes gathered at a table." - p 79 Anyone who works in a museum or archiving knows how ludicrous this is: food and BOOZE in the vault?! An Andy Warhol picture of a Coca-Cola bottle sold for $57.3 million, pushing the overall take that night to $692 million, at the time the biggest single sale of art ever." - http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/... ""I'd like you to act as my agent in the collection of the works." ""Nuts to you!" Dan said. ""I hope," the voice said, "that you ain't harboring no reactionary racial prejudices." ""Gosh, no," Dan reassured the eye. "I'm crazy aboutuh" ""Vorplischers," the voice said." - p 88 Laumer even goes so far as to put the shoe on the other tentacle to show humans as fratricidal monsters: ""Hairless! I like happy romantic endings, maybe I'll even encounter one in real life sometime: "She looked up at him, smiling, her lips slightly parted. The report from the Survey Party confirms that the ninth planet has left its orbit and is falling toward the Sun." - p 121 In my recent review of Laumer's The House in November ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... This gives me an excuse to quote at length from NASA's website: "Discovered in 1930, Pluto was long considered our solar system's ninth planet. You call it Pluto." ""And the remains of the moon are the asteroids," - p 189 ""If we nudge Olantea from its cold orbit and guide it back to its ancient position, fifth from the Sun. once more it will flower." - p 193 I don't recall whether the yr of the story is specified but it's implied in this: "On the nine-hundreth floor he stepped out".

(1) Timesweepers: This seems to be a typical Cold War fantasy, so far--a 'O07 time travels' sort of thing. If the robots have needs and motives, they must have rights. We'll see how it ends--Laumer is noted for his ironic twists. There are so many different agents and agencies in this story that it's hard to come up with a coherent motivation or chain of consequences. I've always regarded this sort of thing as an attempt to provide surrogates for our own murderous behavior, which we externalize into 'aliens' to whom we owe no consideration of kindness. Other intelligent life forms are identified as bisexual...sometimes, at least). One odd thing: Laumer gives the impression of being a very uxorious man. But the wives seldom make any actual appearance in the stories. One of Laumer's stories includes a part where a man actually ends up cohabiting a woman's body--but otherwise, women seem too often to be offstage shadows.

John Keith Laumer was an American science fiction author. During the peak years of 19591971, Laumer was a prolific science fiction writer, with his novels tending to follow one of two patterns: fast-paced, straight adventures in time and space, with an emphasis on lone-wolf, latent superman protagonists, self-sacrifice and transcendence or, broad comedies, sometimes of the over-the-top variety. In 1971, Laumer suffered a stroke while working on the novel The Ultimax Man. As a result, he was unable to write for a few years. Laumer was also a model airplane enthusiast, and published two dozen designs between 1956 and 1962 in the U.S. magazines Air Trails, Model Airplane News and Flying Models, as well as the British Aero Modeler.