Sawyer’s collected short stories with the theme of time.

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Publication year: 2019

Publisher: SFWRITER.COM Inc

Format: ebook

Page count from GoodReads: 218

All of the thirteen short stories were commissioned for different collections including Future War, Men Writing Science Fiction as Women, Down These Dark Spaceways, Dark Destiny III: Children of Dracula, and Star Colonies.

Some are set in the future and a couple involves time travel. Some of them deal with time differences and how society has changed during that time.

Just Like Old Times: This story was originally written for Dinosaur Fantastic. It starts when Cohen’s mind is sent to the past, inside a Tyrannosaur Rex.

Immortality: The main character returns for her 60th class reunion. A lot has changed from 1963 to 2023. The main character must confront the biggest mistake she has done in her life.

If I’m here, Imagine Where They Sent My Luggage: a 250-word story that (again) has dinosaurs and time travel.

On the Surface: A homage to H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine. The Morlocks are using time machines.

Relativity: Cathy is one of the few humans who travels to another planet, to explore it. The journey takes seven years, from her perspective. But Earth, a lot more time has passed. Will she even recognize her husband and children?

Forever: Cholo is an astronomer in the Shizoo queendom. He wants to find an unknown planet so that everyone will remember his name forever. Instead, he notices a huge asteroid hurtling toward Earth.

Iterations: Erik knows that he lives in a computer simulation. That he himself is also a simulation. What really drives him crazy is the thought, the knowledge, that in other simulations versions of him are doing unspeakable things.

The Right’s Tough: This story first appears in Vision of Liberty where the world is a better place without governments. The main character lives in such a world. After being in hibernation for 250 years, a crew of the only off-solar system spaceship is returning home.

E-Mails from the Future: This story was written in 2008 for a collection that looked at business a decade down the road. Sawyer’s (imaginary) agent sends him emails. Through them, we can see how far more mercenary businesses will be.

Identity Theft: Alexander Lomax is a private detective in New Klondike, the only town on Mars. It’s small and under a dome. Most of the people who have come here are looking for fossils, but they’re rare, so very few people can get rich. Most just stay in the town hoping to find at least something or they simply don’t have the money to leave anymore. A missing husband should be easy to find, but the case turns out to be more complex than Lomax expected.

Biding Time: Set in the same setting as the previous story, this time Alex Lomax is trying to find out why someone killed an old woman who has just transferred her mind to an artificial body.

Peking Man: 130,000-year-old bones of Peking Man were discovered in 1927 near Beijing. During WWII they were supposed to be smuggled out of China and to the USA. But the remains disappeared. What really happened?

The Shoulders of Giants: 50 people have been in cryosleep for 1,200 years traveling to Tau Ceti and to the planet which is in the habitable zone. Now they’re close enough that they’re being revived so that they can finally see if the planet is habitable.

These were all entertaining reads. I like the two Marsian stories the best, but the two dinosaur stories were lots of fun, too. “Iterations” has also a fascinating idea.

The stories all have a strong central idea. Often, the main character is written in the first person and they aren’t too different from each other. The atmosphere of the stories varies a lot from a detective story to regret about things the MC has done in the past to an MC killing gleefully.

“Identity theft” was apparently expanded to a novel, “Red Planet Blues”, and I’m very curious to read it.