A Little Something for Us Tempunauts

The Eye of the Sibyl and Other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
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First published in Final Stage 1974

U.S. tempunaut Addison Doug shows up at his wife’s house, soon joined by fellow tempunauts Benz and Crayne, just after news comes in that their time capsule has imploded on reentry returning from a mission to travel one hundred years into the future. It’s understood that they are on some kind of ‘emergence time,’ but they may or may not also be stuck in a time loop. Signs point to Addison, the only person who suspects this, as the one who sabotaged their reentry in order to break them out of the loop for good.

I won’t pretend to understand everything about this story (particularly how the Emergence Time Activity is supposed to work), but it’s a clever reimagining of the Cold War U.S.-Soviet space race.

Cast of characters

  • Addison Doug, Benz, Crayne – tempunauts in the U.S. time travel program
  • Merry Lou Hawkins – Addison’s wife
  • General Toad – in charge of the U.S. time travel program
  • Officer N. Gauki – a Soviet chrononaut. I love the detail of U.S. tempunauts vs. Soviet chrononauts.
  • Henry Cassidy, Everett Branton – TV newscasters covering the tempunauts’ funeral
  • Dr. Fein – physicist from the Time Extrusion Labs