Likely I read this story in OMNI Magazine or Isaac Asimov magazine in high school (1981-1985). I remember it involved people either travelling through time or teleporting but ethically they were not allowed to mess with people or affect them permanently (or change the future if it was time-travel related). The loophole was that if a person was going to die anyway, they could mess with them. so the characters found a person who was going to drive over a precipice due to a washed-out bridge and die anyway, so they were appearing in front the vehicle to freak the driver out, but then the vehicle plunged over the precipice and the person died so it didn't matter anyway. But... of course something goes wrong (I forget what). Tracked down a few others I remember such as Ray Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder", which I read in the same era, so could have been in anthologies or reprints.

Any ideas?

1 Answer 1


"Closing the Timelid" is a short story by Orson Scott Card. It appears in his short story collections Unaccompanied Sonata and Other Stories and Maps in a Mirror.

In the future, time travel machines known as timelids exist, but are expensive devices and thus available only to corporations and wealthy people. One wealthy playboy, Orion, has discovered a way to get a powerful new thrill out of his timelid: since a safety device built into it ensures that the time traveler is always reassembled no matter what happens to him in the past, one can experience the excitements of death without actually dying by traveling to the past and committing suicide. Much to the chagrin of the temporal enforcement authorities, Orion has gathered together a band of his fellow thrill-seekers to try out this amazing new source of amusement, and they are tormenting a trucker fated to die by throwing themselves in his path to commit their suicides.

  • Good find, but it's not clear what you are quoting from., it doesn't sound like a quote from the story.
    – user14111
    Jan 13, 2016 at 7:00
  • Sounds likely that this is it, trying to track down a copy to confirm
    – Steve
    Jan 14, 2016 at 5:12

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