In one of Gardner Dozois anthologies in the last few years had a short story about an alternate time line where the travelers were surprised to see black people as their reality had none. Can anyone lead me to the title and author?

  • Can you be more specific than "the last few years"?
    – Tim
    Oct 1, 2017 at 20:09
  • 1
    it was in one of the "Year's best sceince fiction" anthologies 31st - 33rd I think. I;'ve got them on my kindle and have even done a text search but can't find it again.
    – anon
    Oct 3, 2017 at 14:26
  • Is there no where that I can find summaries of the content of each of Gardner Dozois' anthologies. Wikipedia's title list format is woeful.
    – Jontia
    Jan 10, 2020 at 10:24
  • It might be Two Guys from the Future • (1992) • shortstory by Terry Bisson. Couldn't find any sinopsis, but its the only story that has timetravel.
    – IloneSP
    Jan 10, 2020 at 12:10
  • @Roberto I don't think that's the one. I skimmed it real fast and didn't see anything about the time travelers being surprised by black people, but maybe I missed something. You can read it yourself here: williamflew.com/omni167a.html
    – user14111
    Mar 11, 2021 at 6:50

1 Answer 1


There is a scene like this in In Another Country, Robert Silverberg's companion piece to C.L. Moore's Vintage Season. There is no explanation as to why the time traveler is surprised; it is only mentioned in passing.

The driver hopped out. He was very big, bigger even than Thimiroi, with immense heavy shoulders and a massive column of a neck. His face was unusual, the lips strongly pronounced, the cheekbones broad and jutting like blades His hair was black and woolly and grew very close to his skull. But the most surprising thing about him was the color of his skin. It was dark brown, almost black: his eyes were bright as beacons against that astonishing chocolate-hued backdrop. Thimiroi had never imagined that anyone might have skin of such a color. Was that what they all were like in the twentieth century? Skin the color of night? No one on Capri had looked like that, or in Canter- bury.

"You the people called for a taxi?” the driver asked. “Here—let me put those suitcases in the trunk "

Perhaps it is a form of ornamentation, Thimiroi thought. They have it artificially done. They think it makes them look more beautiful when they change their skins, when they change their faces, so that they are like this. And it a as beautiful. There was a brooding somber power about this black man's face. He was like something carved from a block of some precious and recalcitrant stone.

The story appeared in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in March 1989 when Gardner Dozois was editor, and has only rarely been anthologized.

  • I've taken the liberty of adding in a quote and some inline links in case OP wants to read the story themselves.
    – Valorum
    Mar 11, 2021 at 7:50
  • Thanks for the clarification. I missed the anthology. Mar 11, 2021 at 20:46

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