I'm trying to identify a story I read in the early 1980s, probably in an issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. It has Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes's arch-enemy) somehow being transported back to Shakespeare's time. He finds himself on stage during an early performance of Macbeth, and realising what character he is portraying he is able to recite the relevant lines to keep the play on course. It then turns out that Shakespeare himself is present, and he is so impressed with what Moriarty has said that he adds the lines to the manuscript of the play. Moriarty then raises the question: given that the first time the character's lines were spoken, they were delivered from memory - so who actually wrote them?

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    This is a common trope in time travel stories. Like the transparent aluminum paradox in ST: The Voyage Home.
    – Barmar
    Commented Mar 18 at 0:57

1 Answer 1


"The Adventure of the Global Traveler", by Anne Lear. The ISFDB lists it as collected in a couple of anthologies. (I think "Laughing Space" was where I read it) but first published in a 1978 edition of Asimov's.

He shows up as the Third Murderer, and I remember taking away the implication that the first line addressed to him - "But who didst bid thee join us?" - was a sincere question from the actor playing the other murderer, not something scripted.


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