About 30 years ago I read a short story about an inventor who builds a time machine out of (I think) a Volkswagen Beetle which could only go forwards.

He travels to the year 2100 only to find that time appears to be running backwards; everyone says it's 1900 and as the date passes the original date when a piece of technology was invented (when time ran forwards), it's dismantled and purposely forgotten about.

The inventor is arrested as a "B.A." (Blatant Anachronism) and discovers that 2016 (forward count) was renumbered 1984 B.C. (Backward Count), and from then on the calendar went backwards.

He escapes in his machine to land in 4000 (by the old forward count), only to find it's the year 1, now going forwards again. He's arrested by a Roman soldier who asks him if he's a Christian; all Christians must be put to death as B.A.s.

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    Wow, this is detailed, with lots of likely phrases, but it doesn't seem easy to find.
    – Adamant
    Jun 7, 2016 at 8:57

1 Answer 1


A Google search for "Backward Count" finds Re-deem The Time by David Lake as part of The Best Australian Science Fiction Writing: A Fifty Year Collection.

Google Books Link

  • That's the one, thank you! Where can I get a copy?
    – Wallnut
    Jun 7, 2016 at 11:07
  • Whether the sidebar links at the Google Books link are of any use I don't know. Unfortunately I have had to switch to mobile as my main Internet connection has just gone down.
    – Paulie_D
    Jun 7, 2016 at 11:16
  • Only two of them actually pointed to purchasable copies - second hand, at over 60 (GB) pounds! I'm sure I read it in an earlier anthology than that, but I can't think of the name of it.
    – Wallnut
    Jun 7, 2016 at 12:32
  • The Best Science Fiction of the Year 9 (Best Science Fiction of the Year (Carr) #9) by Terry Carr (editor), George R.R. Martin Jun 7, 2016 at 12:37
  • That's one I found (my internet is back) but even that's rare to find. You might try Abesbooks
    – Paulie_D
    Jun 7, 2016 at 13:07

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