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.

  • 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? Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


Yet-another-search for keywords brought me to Google books (thanks, Google!) and ultimately to Richard Garfinkle's All of an Instant.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.