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Crossroads of Destiny

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Author: H. Beam Piper
Published: 1959
Language: English
Wordcount: 5,573 / 23 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 74.7
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 3,907
Added to site: 2006.06.21 13723

No wonder he'd been so interested in the talk of whether our people accepted these theories!

Show Excerpt

rts of freak phenomena, like mysterious appearances and disappearances, or flying-object sightings, or reported falls of non-meteoric matter, theoretically respectable. Reports like that usually get the ignore-and-forget treatment, now."

"Zen you believe zat zeese ozzer world of zee alternate probabeelitay, zey exist?"

"No. I don't disbelieve it, either. I've no reason to, one way or another." He studied his drink for a moment, and lowered the level in the glass slightly. "I've said that once in a while things get reported that look as though such other worlds, in another time-dimension, may exist. There have been whole books published by people who collect stories like that. I must say that academic science isn't very hospitable to them."

"You mean, zings sometimes, 'ow-you-say, leak in from one of zees ozzer worlds? Zat has been known to 'appen?"

"Things have been said to have happened that might, if true, be cases of things leaking through from another time world," the sandy-hai

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 3.5 from 2 reviews: ****
Paulo Respighi

During a train ride a TV producer and four other men are discussing and idea for a new TV show. Basically, it would try to predict what the world would have been like if crucial events had transpired in the opposite way. They would be trying to predict alternate time-lines.

The story is mainly their conversation, with a twist ending. The characters are distinct, the writing is clear.


I suppose this might fall into that category the one-punch James Blish was always complaining about. If so, though, I think it would have to be classified as a twist-ending rather than a trick-ending deal. Anyway, even without the ending, it works fairly well, the long conversation occupying the large bulk of the story is interesting enough in it self, mostly. And I thought it rather amusing to have the TV producer and 4 (well 5) men discussing his new sf-type TV program. Oh yes, this happens on a train in 1959. All told, it's not that bad, I suppose. Clearly though, as some non-sequiturs (which he tried to patch up later) indicate, this is likely a first-draft story we're reading.



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