Saturday, April 28, 2007

"Time's Arrow" (short story): A visit to Jurassic Park, reversed!

I had been wondering why there has been no story involving a time machine by Clarke. And here it comes.

In spite of having seen several time travel movies, I find this story original.

Story summary (spoiler).
A group of paleontologists have hit upon a geological discovery of some importance - fossilized bed on an ancient riverbed with footprints of a big dinosaur. The story is about reconstructing the physical path the dinosaur took around this location.

Looks like the beast stopped in the wet riverbed, then saw something interesting, & ran towards it. So our friends painstakingly dig the ground towards the source of interest.

Near the digging site is an enigmatic facility of several buildings. No one really knows for sure what goes on there - so the speculation is wild: perhaps it is a governmental atomic facility, perhaps it is about a great new invention funded by private investors, ...

Until one day there is an accident. The facility vanishes. And the diggers discover what it was that the dinosaur found interesting!

See also.

  1. Two similar stories, L Sprague de Camp's "A Gun for Dinosaur" & Ray Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder", are interesting variations on this story.
Fact sheet.
Time's Arrow, short story, review
Author: Arthur C Clarke
Genre: Science fiction
First Published: 1952
Rating: A

The story appears in the following collections.
  1. "Reach for tomorrow"
  2. "The Collected Stories of Arthur C Clarke"
  3. "Across the Sea of Stars"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the story, 'Time's Arrow' quite a bit is made about the Jeep's tires... How they were worn out, how they were replaced with an unfamiliar design that had a 'zig zag' tread pattern. Obviously to set the stage for the discovery of the Jeep's tireprints in the fossil record. I've always assumed that the 'zig zag' tread pattern tires were military NDT or NDCC type Jeep tires.