“Small Moments in Time” is a 2004 science fiction short story by John G. Hemry. It is about a time traveling man working in turn-of-the-century Kansas, and the horrible secret he discovers there.
Non-Spoiler Summary In A Nutshell:
“Small Moments in Time” follows a man from the future (some time beyond the 21st century) who has come to 1918 Kansas to collect extinct plant seeds. Using “Jeannie”, an implanted personal assistant, he has no trouble finding what he needs, but he also discovers something unexpected – another time traveler! As he follows this other traveler he finds plans and intentions that aren’t so simple and noble as his own!
But I’d only made half a block toward my next destination when I got diverted anyway.
“I’m detecting a nearby temporal field,” Jeannie advised.
Another jumper here and now? There’s not that much demand for extinct seeds. “Coming or going?”
“From the temporal jump field echo, it’s an arrival.”
I looked around, trying to remember what the street had looked like moments before and whether there was an extra person suddenly out there now. Instead, I saw a rapidly forming crowd peering down at someone or something on the ground across the street from me. I weighed the term “Spanish Influenza” and the risks of mixing with people against the chance that the crowd might be forming around a fellow temporal interventionist, perhaps one who’d been injured.
My Two Cents:
• The good:
- A very cool time traveling story, that poses a great moral question too!
- “Small Moments in Time” is the first piece I’ve read from this author, but I sure enjoyed his writing style.
- I’m a sucker for time traveling stories – especially if they involve plagues, subterfuge and big nasty moral decisions! If that sounds interesting to you then you’ll most likely love this story!
• The bad:
- Really the only thing I didn’t like about “Small Moments in Time” was the narrator’s trip to Freetown – that seemed like a pretty lucky guess to me.
• Page Count: 13
• Word Count: 6,703
• “Small Moments in Time” garnered the following awards:
- It was listed on the 2005 Preliminary Nebula Ballot – but never made it past that stage. Too bad – it is a great story.
Where you can find “Small Moments in Time”:
- This short story first appeared in the December 2004 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact.
- You can still read a nice HTML version of “Small Moments in Time” for free at Analog’s web site.
Some Interesting Links:
- Did you know that John G. Hemry, the author of “Small Moments in Time”, is a retired Navy officer? Yep. You can learn more about this science fiction writer by checking out his web site.
- Thanks to our friend Tinkoo over at Variety SF for pointing out this incredible story.
Craving More Stories?
If you enjoyed this story then you might also like Darwin’s Suitcase, about a woman who travels back in time to meet the famous naturalist Charles Darwin, by Elizabeth Malartre.