30 Comments

  1. To whom it might concern

    If you ever acquire time-travel capability please do not use it in an attempt to kill Hitler. You have no idea of the subtle machinations and endless assassinations we have had to carry out to ensure that the Third Reich was led by a total screw-up. Just leave it to the experts.

    Sincerely

    The Time Corp

  2. Bolling has done numerous riffs on the idiot time traveller. Actually, this one is a different character, and not quite as idiotic as the usual one.

  3. This isn’t an idiot time traveler. It’s about the resistance of time to being changed – if it hadn’t been Hitler, it would have been someone else…and it was, in a previous iteration of the timeline.

  4. Right, this one is not is not an idiot. (Tho it’s open whether his persistence is heroic or pointless.) But Bolling does have “Idiot Time Traveller from 1910” as one of those subseries he does within Super-Fun-Pak Comix. (Which in turn sometimes does appear within Tom the Dancing Bug but nowadays more as a separate spinoff.)

  5. The Bolling very cleverly and concisely presents what my deep-down view has been about history, but that has recently been challenged, reading Pinker and Easterbrook. Now I’m not saying that my mind has been changed, just that it came as a revelation to me how deeply ingrained my mindset was, and how exciting it was to contemplate that that mindset might be totally wrong. Basically, instead of pessimistically viewing disasters like Mao and Stalin as inevitable, and if it hadn’t been them, it would have been someone else, what if those things/people were edge cases, Foundation‘s Mule-like anomalies, and had there been just a little more pressure in another direction, all those travesties could have been avoided. I have to admit, it’s been exciting reviewing my deep-seated beliefs and seeing the world in a whole different way…

  6. Does everyone remember the original Voyager joke? No? OK, if you insist…
    As a cultural sampler, the Voyagers carried a “Golden Record” with samples from classical music (Bach), pop music (Chuck Berry), folk music, etc. After many years the astronomers were thrilled to get a response! They ran the response through translating super computers and called a press conference. The reporters all screamed, “What did the aliens say? What was their response?”
    The lead astronomer replied, “They said, ‘Send more Chuck Berry.'”

  7. The aliens will never find us, not with those directions. On the Pioneer plaque, our solar system is depicted as having nine planets. But depending on whether you count dwarf planets as planets usable for landmarks, our solar system has either eight planets, or a lot more than eight planets.

    (That is, unless “Planet 9” turns out to be a true theory, but then it would probably be bigger than Earth, and the size of that ninth planet would be grossly inaccurate.)

  8. (…and just so you know, I’m not being entirely serious here. The depicted planets are so out of scale (in both size and distance), that the inclusion or exclusion of Pluto probably would not make a difference when it comes to aliens finding out where we live.)

  9. The planets are only secondary. The real “directions” are the distances to a set of nearby stars. Given that the satellite is never going to get outside of this local group(*), it probably would not be hard to match the patterns of distances.
    P.S. (*) – Regardless of what the scriptwriters for “Star Trek (1) – The Movie” thought.

  10. One person’s LOL is another’s meh. I got a chuckle out of the New Yorker but that’s about it. Conductorcize is funny because it shares an “er” sound with exercise? Maybe I’m missing something.

  11. Harry Turtledove’s take on the South winning the Civil War (“The Guns of the South”) has an ending that Jefferson Beauregard may not be too thrilled about.

  12. larK: It seems certain that in that time period that Germany would have had some votes for a far-right, populist candidate, but the details being an extreme racist and of holding the government hostage until he was given the chancellorship (he lost the election for president) were probably particular to Hitler.

  13. @Shrug – that Fritz Leiber story was published when I was 2 months old, but “There was a brush fire in California and a war scare in Iran” – you’re right, Time is pretty unchangeable!

  14. I like to consider a positive example: how many millions of lives did Gorbachev save? The inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union could have gone a LOT worse than it did, and I hope no St. Petersburg Russian Putin hacker-troll invents time travel and goes back to kill Gorby to prove it… How likely is it that things would have gone as well as they did were not Gorbachev there to mitigate the impending disaster?

  15. John Barnes’ novel _Kaleidoscope Century_ is in fact partly the story of a timeline in which, when Yeltsin climbed on a tank to defy the Red Army … they killed him, removed Gorbachev, and retained the USSR.

  16. Is it suppose to be that the fellow killed Krause instead of his intended target – Hitler, or is it that each time he kills the leader the time line changes and someone else gets the job, so he killed who he was sent to kill – Krause, and now Hitler has the job so nothing has changed – or it has changed for the worse?

  17. Meryl A: second proposition. A lot of science fiction stories are based on this premise. The one I remember is “Making history” by Stephen Fry.

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