14

A few years back, I've read a very nice story about time travellers.
I've been reading it online - no idea if it was ever published properly, or just an online-only piece - and was too busy that day to finish it in one sitting (it was a novel-length story, and I made it to roughly the middle). Then the next time I wanted to see it, the browser had already been reloaded, and I couldn't recall where I found it originally (most likely, somewhere on TV Tropes, but I have no idea what page, and I'm not sure enough it was that to consider checking all the possible options).
I hope that I give enough information here for you to figure out what story it might have been - I really want to finish it properly some day.

There was a temporal research station set up somewhere in the distant past (Mesozoic? not sure about that part) which was a main base point for time travellers going to various times.
The research station was active for several centuries. The main character (male, I think, but not sure) is from the first few decades of the station's activity; at some point he meets, and has further adventures with, a girl who worked at the station about 1300 years later (and was surprised that the other guy was from that early - apparently their home times were separated by a similar time period).
Not too long after the girl worked there, the station was closed/abandoned for some reason, and at some point the main characters visit the now-abandoned station and try to figure out said reason. That was almost at the point where I had to stop, so I have no idea what happened later (in particular, whether they ever figured that out, and what the reason was).

Now the less certain parts: I'm almost sure that the main character (the one who's not the other girl) was stuck in the past in some way (cut off from normal methods of escape, hoping for some other lucky escape), and when he met the girl, they ended up stuck together.
Also, there were time paradoxes involved in some way; maybe the girl's future was prevented by the main character being lost. I think one of the paradoxes had to do with why the main character was stuck in the first place, but I'm not entirely sure (and it might have been explained in the half that I didn't read). The girl is definitely surprised that they both exist, and are stuck the way they are (as in it was not supposed to happen in the "normal" time path, whatever that was).
For some reason, I seem to recall that the original link I got the story from mentioned it involving a real lot of paradoxes and general time travel messes - a lot more than I ended up seeing - but I didn't get to read far enough (as I mentioned, I stopped around the middle - maybe at 40%).

Any idea what it might have been? I know there's a lot of stories about time travel and paradoxes and stuff like that; hopefully the whole thing about a temporal research station being active for ~1400 years (I'm fairly sure of that number, at least approximately) and then getting abandoned is unusual enough to identify the story.
I know it must have been online (as of two years ago, at least, and probably still), and linked from somewhere (likely TV Tropes). But even that includes an awful lot of stuff (and searching for the 1300 or 1400 years isn't likely to help, because I think it's been a more precise number in the story - which I don't actually remember).

  • Your description makes me think of Poul Anderson's Time Patrol stories. Could you have been looking at a piece of the Guardians of Time anthology? – Dosco Jones Feb 22 '16 at 17:16
8

I think this might be Dinosaur Beach by Keith Laumer. I found it in the collection "Odyssey" (collection available at that link, story is at the end)

The temporal research station is dinosaur beach itself, set up in the distant past (65 million years BC) so the time travel agency can use it without worrying about altering the past too much. The main character, Ravel, meets and has adventures with another character, Mellia, who is from much further up the timeline and who looks like someone he knew.

The station is attacked, and abandoned. Ravel and Mellia are the only ones there, they investigate and end up stuck (because of paradox, in a closed loop timeline segment). Mellia does turn out to be from an alternate timeline, created by a paradox. There are a lot of paradoxes and other messes, created by other agencies and eras messing with the time line (including time agencies in direct competition).

I don't recall the 1300 years figure, offhand, but I really think this might be the story you're looking for.

  • That's the one I was reminded of too. If that's the right answer, the question is a duplicate of this one. – user14111 Feb 22 '16 at 23:16
  • 1
    @user14111 - the policy on story-id duplicates makes more sense in cases like these... the story fits both, but there isn't a lot of overlap in the bits they were remembering originally - and someone else looking might find either, or neither, depending on which bits they remembered as well. – Megha Feb 22 '16 at 23:23
  • Yes, I'm pretty sure that's it! I found it online (eventually), and there's a quote that really clinches it. However, I don't know how to put quotes in comments, and I don't want to make a new answer just for the quote when I'm probably going to accept this one anyway. Can I edit the question to add it? – January First-of-May Feb 24 '16 at 8:11
  • Incidentally, I used to joke that I've read (and liked) everything by Keith Laumer except the Bolo series. I know that's not literally true - still looking for Back to the Time Trap, and certainly there are other works by her (sorry, him) that I never encountered in the first place - but I've certainly read a lot of her (sorry, his) works (and certainly never read any of the Bolo series, which some consider her - sorry, his - best work), and this is apparently yet another. Now if I could only convince myself that she - sorry, he - is actually supposed to be a guy... – January First-of-May Feb 24 '16 at 8:28
  • @JanuaryFirst-of-May Your joke went over my head. Do you mind explaining it? What made you think Keith Laumer was a gal? – user14111 Mar 2 '16 at 5:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.