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A friend of mine had an Amazing Tales-type anthology back in the mid-80's with this story. A traveller is sent back to an earlier time (early 20th century America?). He reveals innocently that he's "at least one-fourth" black, and is killed by an angry racist farmer. He's possibly developed a relationship with the farmers' sister or daughter? One detail I remember is that he breaks his ankle on arriving from his own time, as the method of time travel can't account for differences in ground level between his own time and the past. The book (American, I think) also contained a story about two armies struggling in battle, one all in black, one all in white. It becomes clear at the end of the story that

they are actually chess pieces and are doomed to keep repeating their struggle.

I'd love to find out the title of the book itself.

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  • "Dark Interlude" is undoubtedly right.. At the end, the farmer recounts the story to a friend, who tells him to forget it because "Them n-----s will try anything to pass as white." End of story.
    – Mike Stone
    May 1 at 7:55

1 Answer 1

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"Dark Interlude" by Mack Reynolds and Fredric Brown

A traveller is sent back to an earlier time (early 20th century America?). He reveals innocently that he's "at least one-fourth" black, and is killed by an angry racist farmer.

Recap of the story

“He said that by his time–starting after the war of something-or-other, I forget its name–all the races had blended into one. That the whites and the yellows had mostly killed one another off and that Africa had dominated the world for a while, and then all the races had begun to blend into one by colonization and intermarriage and that by his time the process was complete. I just stared at him and asked him, ‘You mean you got n***** blood in you?’ and he said, just like it didn’t mean anything, ‘At least one-fourth.’”

Since the other story is also by Brown "Recessional," (see below) you probably have a collection by Brown, such as Nightmares and Geezenstacks

Description of Recessional

The book (American, I think) also contained a story about two armies struggling in battle, one all in black, one all in white. It becomes clear at the end of the story that they are actually chess pieces and are doomed to keep repeating their struggle. I'd love to find out the title of the book itself.

Published for the first time in the collection Nightmares and Geezenstacks in 1961, this very short story by Fredric Brown tells the fight lead by a soldier in the war opposing the Whites (his camp) against the Blacks (the enemy). The dreadful losses suffered by his camp make him wonder about the absurdity of war and the death of many companions on the battlefield. But anyway, what really matters is victory !

Quote from the story

Tibault, you were wrong, you were— But what is happening now? The very Earth tilts; one side of the battlefield rises and we are sliding—White and Black alike—into— —into a monstrous box and I see that it is a mass coffin in which already lie dead - IT IS NOT FAIR; WE WON! GOD, WAS TIBAULT RIGHT? IT IS NOT JUST; WE WON! The King, my liege lord, is sliding too across the squares—.

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    Thanks, been looking for this story for ages. Apr 30 at 14:24
  • Which story (Interlude or Recessional)?
    – Andrew
    May 1 at 0:08
  • Dark Interlude. May 1 at 13:34
  • Thank you. It is a memorable story
    – Andrew
    May 2 at 13:38

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