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|"Sidewise in Time"|
|Published in||Astounding Stories|
|Publisher||Street & Smith|
|Media type||Print (Magazine, Hardback & Paperback)|
|Publication date||June 1934|
"Sidewise in Time" is a science fiction short story by American writer Murray Leinster that was first published in the June 1934 issue of Astounding Stories . "Sidewise in Time" served as the title story for Leinster's second story collection in 1950.
Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction, typically dealing with imaginative concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations, and has been called a "literature of ideas".
A short story is a piece of prose fiction that typically can be read in one sitting and focuses on a self-contained incident or series of linked incidents, with the intent of evoking a "single effect" or mood, however there are many exceptions to this.
Murray Leinster was a nom de plume of William Fitzgerald Jenkins, an American writer of science fiction and alternate history literature. He wrote and published more than 1,500 short stories and articles, 14 movie scripts, and hundreds of radio scripts and television plays.
The Sidewise Award for Alternate History, established in 1995 to recognize the best alternate history stories and novels of the year, was named in honor of "Sidewise in Time."
The Sidewise Awards for Alternate History were established in 1995 to recognize the best alternative history stories and novels of the year.
Professor Minott is a mathematician at Robinson College in Fredericksburg, Virginia who has determined that an apocalyptic cataclysm is fast approaching that could destroy the entire universe. The cataclysm manifests itself on June 5, 1935 (one year in the future of the story's original publication) when sections of the Earth's surface begin changing places with their counterparts in alternate timelines. A Roman legion from a timeline where the Roman Empire never fell appears on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri. Viking longships from a timeline where the Vikings settled North America raid a seaport in Massachusetts. A traveling salesman from Louisville, Kentucky, whose van bears a commercial logo including Uncle Sam with the Stars and Stripes, finds himself in trouble with the law when he travels into an area where the South won the American Civil War. A ferry approaching San Francisco finds the flag of Tsarist Russia flying from a grim fortress dominating the city.
Fredericksburg is an independent city located in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,286, up from 19,279 at the 2000 census. The city population was estimated at 28,360 in 2017. The Bureau of Economic Analysis of the United States Department of Commerce combines the city of Fredericksburg with neighboring Spotsylvania County for statistical purposes.
A Roman legion was a large unit of the Roman army.
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. It had a government headed by emperors and large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome. The Roman Empire was then divided between a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople, and it was ruled by multiple emperors.
When a forest of sequoias appears north of Fredericksburg, Professor Minott leads an expedition of seven students from Robinson College to explore it. They reach the Potomac River, and find on its banks a Chinese village surrounded by rice paddies. At this point, Minott reveals the true situation to the students: he knew in advance that the timeline exchanges were going to take place, and he intends to lead the students to a timeline where he can use his scientific knowledge to gain wealth and power. The party returns to Fredericksburg, which in their absence has been replaced by wilderness, and Minott informs the students that they cannot return to their original timeline.
Sequoioideae (redwoods) is a subfamily of coniferous trees within the family Cupressaceae. It is most common in the coastal forests of Northern California.
The Potomac River is located within the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and flows from the Potomac Highlands into the Chesapeake Bay. The river is approximately 405 miles (652 km) long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles (38,000 km2). In terms of area, this makes the Potomac River the fourth largest river along the Atlantic coast of the United States and the 21st largest in the United States. Over 5 million people live within the Potomac watershed.
Chinese people are the various individuals or ethnic groups associated with China, usually through ancestry, ethnicity, nationality, citizenship or other affiliation. Han Chinese, the largest ethnic group in China, at about 92% of the population, are often referred to as "Chinese" or "ethnic Chinese" in English, however there are dozens of other related and unrelated ethnic groups in China.
That night, an airplane from their own timeline makes a crash landing near Minott's party. Before the pilot dies, they learn from him that Washington, D.C. from their timeline was still in place. A student named Blake wants to make for Washington, but Minott refuses. The forest catches fire from the burning airplane, and the party flees to a Roman villa. They are captured by the villa's owner, except for Blake, who escapes. Later that night Blake secretly returns to the villa and frees the others from the slave pen, shooting the owner in the process. The next morning, the party finds itself near a section of their own timeline. Blake leads the other students there, but Minott refuses to come; he still intends to travel to a more primitive timeline and make himself its ruler. One of the women in the party joins him, while the rest of the students return to their timeline.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.
The students are able to contact the rest of the world and inform them of Minott's deductions about the event. Within two weeks, the timeline exchanges trail off, leaving bits and pieces of other timelines embedded in our own.
"Sidewise in Time" was among the first science fiction stories about parallel universes.In 1903 H. G. Wells wrote "A Modern Utopia" in which people from our timeline were shown traveling to another, but Wells used this mainly as a literary device to present his speculations of a perfect society. Leinster's story, conversely, introduced the concept to the pulp science fiction readership, bringing about the creation of one of the field's subgenres. L. Sprague de Camp's 1940 story "The Wheels of If" followed a single man as he was involuntarily transported through a series of alternate timelines. H. Beam Piper's paratime series (1948–1965) postulated the existence of a civilization that could travel at will across the timelines, a theme echoed in Larry Niven's "All the Myriad Ways" (1968), Frederik Pohl's The Coming of the Quantum Cats (1986), and Harry Turtledove's Crosstime Traffic series (2003–2008). Other stories dealing with travel to parallel timelines include Isaac Asimov's "Living Space" (1956), Keith Laumer's Imperium series (1962–1990), Jack Vance's "Rumfuddle" (1973), and Jack L. Chalker's G.O.D. Inc trilogy (1987–1989). Lawrence Watt-Evans' story "Storm Trooper" (1992) is set in world whose inhabitants, like those of "Sidewise in Time", must cope with the sudden appearance of sections of other timelines. Gordon R. Dickson's Time Storm (1977) depicts an Earth ravaged by a cosmic storm that randomly changes the historical periods of local regions, much like "Sidewise in Time". The anime series Orguss took "Sidewise in Time" as one of its inspirations, and showed the world caught in a trap of constantly changing territories of alternate-Earths.
Herbert George Wells was an English writer. He was prolific in many genres, writing dozens of novels, short stories, and works of social commentary, satire, biography, and autobiography, and even including two books on recreational war games. He is now best remembered for his science fiction novels and is often called a "father of science fiction", along with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback.
A Modern Utopia is a 1905 novel by H. G. Wells.
Lyon Sprague de Camp, better known as L. Sprague de Camp, was an American writer of science fiction, fantasy and non-fiction. In a career spanning 60 years, he wrote over 100 books, including novels and works of non-fiction, including biographies of other fantasy authors. He was a major figure in science fiction in the 1930s and 1940s.
The setting of Fred Hoyle's October the First Is Too Late is similar to that of Leinster's story, except that the segments of Earth which are brought together and interact with each other are from different historical periods, rather than from different parallel histories.
In his comments on the story in Before the Golden Age , Isaac Asimov writes that "Sidewise in Time" had a long-term effect on his thinking. "It always made me conscious of the 'ifs' in history, and this showed up not only in my science fiction, as in 'The Red Queen's Race', but in my serious books on history as well. I also used the alternate-history theme, in enormous complexity, in my novel The End of Eternity ."
Themes touched upon by Leinster would be taken up at greater length by others: Confederate victory in the American Civil War, a Roman Empire which never fell, enduring Viking colonization of America, Russia keeping its 19th-century colonies in Pacific America, Chinese colonists finding their way to America.
The idea of a scholar using a cataclysmic event to make himself the ruler of primitive people was taken up by S. M. Stirling in the Nantucket and Emberverse series, where the main villains do this repeatedly.
Alternate history or alternative history (AH), is a genre of speculative fiction consisting of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently. These stories usually contain "what if" scenarios at crucial points in history and present outcomes other than those in the historical record. The stories are conjectural but are sometimes based on fact. Alternate history has been seen as a subgenre of literary fiction, science fiction, or historical fiction; alternate history works may use tropes from any or all of these genres. Another term occasionally used for the genre is "allohistory".
Isaac Asimov was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. He was known for his works of science fiction and popular science. Asimov was a prolific writer who wrote or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. His books have been published in 9 of the 10 major categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification.
Gardner Raymond Dozois was an American science fiction author and editor. He was the founding editor of The Year's Best Science Fiction anthologies (1984–present) and was editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine (1984–2004), garnering multiple Hugo and Locus Awards for those works almost every year. He also won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story twice. He was inducted to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame on June 25, 2011.
Randall Garrett was an American science fiction and fantasy author. He was a contributor to Astounding and other science fiction magazines of the 1950s and 1960s. He instructed Robert Silverberg in the techniques of selling large quantities of action-adventure science fiction, and collaborated with him on two novels about men from Earth disrupting a peaceful agrarian civilization on an alien planet.
See also: Isaac Asimov bibliography (categorical), Isaac Asimov bibliography (chronological)
Shawna Lee McCarthy is an American science fiction and fantasy editor and literary agent.
Martin Harry Greenberg was an American academic and speculative fiction anthologist. In all, he compiled 1,298 anthologies and commissioned over 8,200 original short stories. He founded Tekno Books, a packager of more than 2000 published books. As well, he was a co-founder of the Sci-Fi Channel. Greenberg was also a terrorism and Middle East expert. He was a long-time friend, colleague and business partner of Isaac Asimov.
Gnome Press was an American small-press publishing company primarily known for publishing many science fiction classics. Gnome was one of the most eminent of the fan publishers of SF, producing 86 titles in its lifespan — many considered classic works of SF and Fantasy today. Gnome was important in the transitional period between Genre SF as a magazine phenomenon and its arrival in mass-market book publishing, but proved too underfunded to make the leap from fan-based publishing to the professional level. The company existed for just over a decade, ultimately failing due to inability to compete with major publishers who also started to publish science fiction. In its heyday, Gnome published many of the major SF authors, and in some cases, as with Robert E. Howard's Conan series and Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, was responsible for the manner in which their stories were collected into book form.
Before the Golden Age: A Science Fiction Anthology of the 1930s is an anthology of 25 science fiction stories from 1930s pulp magazines, edited by American science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. It also includes "Big Game", a short story written by Asimov in 1941 and never sold. The anthology was first published in April 1974, and won the 1975 Locus Award for Best reprint anthology.
"A Logic Named Joe" is a science fiction short story by Murray Leinster that was first published in the March 1946 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. The story is particularly noteworthy as a prediction of massively networked personal computers and their drawbacks, written at a time when computing was in its infancy.
"Proxima Centauri" is a science fiction short story by American writer Murray Leinster, originally published in the March 1935 issue of Astounding Stories. Unusually for the time, the story adhered to the laws of physics as they were known, showing a starship that was limited by the speed of light, and which took several years to travel between the stars. In his comments on the story in Before the Golden Age, Isaac Asimov thought that "Proxima Centauri" must have influenced Robert A. Heinlein's later story "Universe" and stated that it influenced his own Pebble in the Sky.
Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories 7 (1945) is an English language science fiction short story collection, edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg. It is part of a series which attempts to list the great science fiction stories from the Golden Age of Science Fiction. They date the Golden Age as beginning in 1939 and lasting until 1963. The book was later reprinted as the first half of Isaac Asimov Presents The Golden Years of Science Fiction, Fourth Series with the second half being Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories 8 (1946).
In a writing career spanning 53 years (1939–1992), science fiction and popular science author Isaac Asimov (1920–1992) wrote and published 40 novels, 382 short stories, over 280 non-fiction books, and edited about 147 others.
Giants is an anthology of themed fantasy and science fiction short stories on the subject of giants edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh as the fifth volume in their Isaac Asimov's Magical Worlds of Fantasy series. It was first published in paperback by Signet/New American Library in November 1985. The first British edition was issued in trade paperback by Robinson in July 1987.
Neanderthals is an anthology of science fiction short stories edited by Robert Silverberg, Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh as the sixth volume in the Isaac Asimov's Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction series. It was first published in paperback by Signet/New American Library in February 1987.
Monsters is an anthology of science fiction short stories edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh as the eighth volume in their Isaac Asimov's Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction series. It was first published in paperback by Signet/New American Library in July 1988. The first British edition was issued in paperback by Robinson in July 1989.
"Giant Killer" is a science fiction short story by A. Bertram Chandler. It was first published in the October 1945 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, and later included in many science fiction anthologies, including World of Wonder edited by Fletcher Pratt. In 1996 it was shortlisted for a Retro Hugo Award for Best Novella.
The Mammoth Book of Classic Science Fiction: Short Novels of the 1930s is a themed anthology of science fiction short works edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, and Charles G. Waugh, the first in a series of six samplers of the field from the 1930s through the 1980s. It was first published in trade paperback by Robinson in June 1988. The first American edition was issued in trade paperback by Carroll & Graf in July of the same year. A hardcover edition was issued under the variant title Great Tales of Classic Science Fiction by Galahad Books in May 1990.
Robert Silverberg Presents the Great SF Stories: 1964 is an American anthology of short stories, edited by Robert Silverberg and Martin H. Greenberg, first published in hardcover by NESFA Press in December 2001. It is a continuation of the Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories series of short story anthologies, which attempts to list the great science fiction stories from the Golden Age of Science Fiction.