Just as medicine is not a science, but rather an art--a device, practised in a scientific manner, in its best manifestations--time-travel stories are not science fiction. Time-travel, however, has become acceptable to science fiction readers as a traditional device in stories than are otherwise admissible in the genre. Here, Frederik Pohl employs it to portray the amusingly catastrophic meeting of three societies.
d discovered that I had at last passed my examinations and been appointed to the New York City Police Force as a rookie patrolman, Shield 8805.
Trying to work with these kids is hard enough at best. They don't like outsiders. But they particularly hate cops, and I had been trying for some weeks to decide how I could break the news to them.
The door opened. Hawk stood there. He didn't look at me, which was a bad sign. Hawk was one of the youngest in the Leopards, a skinny, very dark kid who had been reasonably friendly to me. He stood in the open door, with snow blowing in past him. "Walt. Out here, man."
It wasn't me he meant--they call me "Champ," I suppose because I beat them all shooting eight-ball pool. Walt put down the comic he had been reading and walked out, also without looking at me. They closed the door.
* * * * *
Time passed. I saw them through the window, talking to each other, looking at me. It was something, all right. They were scared. That's bad, because the
A well written story, though by now the themes Pohl uses seem commonplace.
A time traveler looking for adventure meets up with some teenage gangs in East Harlem. Odd, and probably more comprehensible to New Yorkers of 1950s, but funny.