I seek a SF short story where the husband created a time machine which could only go back to one place & time but the wife was delighted, for she could go back to a real butcher shop with incredibly economical prices.

  • In roughly which year did you read this and when do you think it might've been published? Also, did you read it in an anthology, a magazine, or online? Jul 27, 2023 at 22:42
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    Though it's not what you have in mind, I must say this description of the story reminds me of the song "Everything You Know is Wrong" by Weird Al Yankovic: "They offered to transport me back to any point in history that I would care to go, and so I had them send me back to last Thursday night so I could pay my phone bill on time..." Jul 29, 2023 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


This is "The Good Provider" by Marion Gross. This review discusses the feature you mentioned:

The Good Provider by Marion Gross is an overly contrived tale about an inventor who creates a time machine—but it will only take him to a specific place in the nearby town, only twenty years ago, and only for twenty minutes. His wife uses it to get cheap meat from the butcher. I realise that not all SF can have an epic scope, but . . .

It's collected in 50 Short Science Fiction Tales, which is where I read it.

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    Wait, so she can only get cheap meat once, presumably?
    – Adamant
    Jul 28, 2023 at 2:54
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    @Adamant I think the time machine can be used multiple times, just the place and time is always the same. Jul 28, 2023 at 7:06
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    20 minutes is enough time to send myself a letter with winning lottery numbers.
    – Edheldil
    Jul 28, 2023 at 7:32
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    @ChanandlerBong but if it sent you to the same time, then you would meet yourself that you've sent previously? Or I guess this uses alternate worldline philosophy then
    – justhalf
    Jul 28, 2023 at 8:12
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    I've read the story. It always sends you to the same place. The time is always "twenty years ago." (Something like that.) If you make a trip to the past starting on consecutive days, then the butcher in the past will see you coming in to the shop on consecutive days.
    – JRE
    Jul 28, 2023 at 8:23

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