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This question already has an answer here:

I read this sometime in the 2000s, in another state, so I can't go back and check the shelves.

A scientist discovers time-travel, or something like it -- it's a time-sea. Swimming in it causes ripples or waves that change the timeline. More and more time-changed civilizations enter the sea to battle. The swimmers have tails, the length which represents their life-span or memories? Chop off the tail, and they remember less. The best warrior is one with a super-short tail and hardly any memories.

It was definitely a novel, and not a short story in a collection. Beyond that -- no idea of author, title, or even the cover. Except that I read it in hard-cover, so not a straight-to-mass-market pulp.

marked as duplicate by FuzzyBoots, Ward, alexwlchan, Jason Baker, Valorum Aug 24 '15 at 18:33

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • same answer, but left off the alternate history and the "tails" -- those were the two things I really remembered as setting the book apart from others in the genre. The other question focused on a plot element. Could these be merged? – Michael Paulukonis Aug 24 '15 at 13:48
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Yet-another-search for keywords brought me to Google books (thanks, Google!) and ultimately to Richard Garfinkle's All of an Instant.

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