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Shortcuts Through Time is my second anthology of Twilight Zone genre science fiction stories.
Operation Chronos is about a university physicist that befriends an elderly German janitor who had smuggled plans for a time machine out of Germany at the end of World War II. The professor is able to construct a time machine from the plans resulting in an alternate universe where professor and janitor reverse roles.
A Change of Plans is based on the true life experience of the author’s mother that, had this event not happened, the author would most likely never have been born. A time warp enables a man to go back to the past and prevent his grandmother’s killing at the hands of his grandfather. But what will become of this man as a result of the change? (AUTHOR’S NOTE: The names, place, and dates have been altered or changed.)
Winners and Losers recounts what happens to a community college instructor who can visualize tomorrow’s winning lottery numbers. The outcome is embedded in the title of the story. Back and Forth reveals the unintended consequences of an early 20th century time traveler’s attempt to alter the course of the later 20th century by arranging the deaths of Lenin and Hitler before they come to power.
The Second Shooter tells about a man who is approached by a mysterious stranger with a plan to travel back in time to prevent the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. The plan succeeds and the assassination is averted; however, it becomes necessary to go back in time once again – this time to ensure that Kennedy is assassinated in order to re-align two parallel universes.
Hotel Retro is about a couple looking for a certain restaurant in Alton, Illinois and getting caught up in a heavy rainstorm as they are entering Alton. They take refuge at a hotel with a distinct mid-19th century motif. When the hotel catches fire they rescue the man in the adjoining room who bears an uncanny resemblance to Abraham Lincoln. When they leave the hotel they are in the 21st century. Did they somehow slip through a time warp? Maybe – but, then again, maybe not -- based on a phone call to the hotel after they return home.
The Tiara is about a man who agrees to steal an ancient papal tiara originally from Persia and turn it over to Iranian agents. In doing so he gets trapped in an endless temporal paradox loop.
The Promotion tells how George Armstrong Custer was mistakenly promoted to Brigadier-General. In the original reality he was promoted to the rank of Major but a college professor and his student have to create the mistake that will result in the creation of our universe which is parallel to the original universe.
Operation Northern Lights is the tale of an expedition sent to the North Pole by the United States Government to determine if there is a Hollow Earth civilization as detailed in Admiral Byrd’s Secret Diary. The exact motivation for this government expedition and what happens to the crew on this mission is not quite clear. Are they what they seem to be or is it something else?