Ringer det här en klocka till någon:
En liten kommitté sitter runt ett bord och påminner maskinen. Läsaren förstår att den har ändrat hela tidslinjen: Antalet personer vid bordet är annorlunda och människor som fortfarande står vid bordet har ändrat minnen. Fortfarande känner inte dessa personer igen förändringen och trycker på knappen om och om igen, varje gång du ändrar tidslinjen, ibland till det bättre, ibland till det värre ...
Jag läste berättelsen på 80-talet, men det kan även bero på 50-talet. Det finns potential det är av ryskt eller polskt ursprung. Eller jag kommer medvetet att komma ihåg författaren. Lem? Asimov?
Titel och författare till kort SF-historia
Jag tror att du letar efter R. A. Lafferty s novell "Således vi Frustrate Charlemagne" , som föreslagits i en kommentar av Eike Pierstorff . Berättelsen, som också var svaret på den här gamla frågan , var först publicerad i Galaxy Magazine , februari 1967 , vilket är tillgängligt på Internetarkiv (klicka på här för nedladdningsalternativ). Det matchar din beskrivning perfekt.
om en till synes bruten "förbättringsmaskin"
This was Epiktistes the Ktistec machine? Who'd have believed it? The main bulk of Epikt was five floors below them, but he had run an extension of himself up to this little penthouse lounge. All it took was a cable, no more than a yard in diameter, and a functional head set on the end of it.
Jag tror att experimentets huvudpunkt är att se om de kan ändra något:
"We have perfect test conditions," the machine Epikt said as though calling them to order. "We set out basic texts, and we take careful note of the world as it is. If the world changes, then the texts should change here before our eyes. For the test plot, we have taken that portion of our own middle-sized city that can be viewed from this fine vantage point. If the world in its past-present continuity is changed by our meddling, then the face of our city will also change instantly as we watch it.
Men de hoppas på förbättringar:
"We are going to tamper with one small detail in past history and note its effect," Gregory said. "This has never been done before openly. We go back to an era that has been called 'A patch of light in the vast gloom,' the time of Charlemagne. We consider why that light went out and did not kindle others. The world lost four hundred years by that flame expiring when the tinder was apparently ready for it. We go back to that false dawn of Europe and consider where it failed. The year was 778, and the region was Spain.
En liten kommitté sitter runt ett bord och påminner maskinen.
Det finns nio av dem att börja med, räknar maskinen:
"We have assembled here the finest minds and judgments in the world: eight humans and one Ktistec machine, myself. Remember that there are nine of us. It might be important."
Läsaren förstår att den har ändrat hela tidslinjen:
Även ett av tecknen i berättelsen
Willy McGilly, a man of unusual parts (the seeing third finger on his left hand he had picked up on one of the planets of Kapteyn's star) and no false modesty
vet kanske vad som händer åtminstone är han medveten om tidigare ändringar i tidslinjen:
"I hope the Avatar isn't expensive," Willy McGilly said. "When I was a boy we got by with a dart whittled out of slippery elm wood."
"This is no place for humor," Glasser protested. "Who did you, as a boy, ever kill in time, Willy?"
"Lots of them. King Wu of the Manchu, Pope Adrian VII, President Hardy of our own country, King Marcel of Auvergne, the philosopher Gabriel Toeplitz. It's a good thing we got them. They were a bad lot."
"But I never heard of any of them, Willy," Glasser insisted.
"Of course not. We killed them when they were kids."
Antalet personer vid bordet är annorlunda och personer som fortfarande står vid bordet har ändrat minnen. Fortfarande känner inte dessa personer igen ändringen
Höger. De började med nio (räknar maskinen), då:
The thirteen of them, the ten humans and the Ktistec, Chresmoeidec, and Proaisthematic machines, turned to the evidence and with mounting disappointment.
Och tiden efter det:
"Did it work, Epikt? Is it done?" Aloysius asked.
"Let's look at the evidence," said Gregory.
The four of them, the three humans and the ghost Epikt who was a kachenko mask with a speaking tube, turned to the evidence with mounting disappointment.
"There is still the stick and the five notches in it," said Gregory. "It was our test stick. Nothing in the world has changed."
"The arts remain as they were," said Aloysius. "Our picture here on the stone on which we have worked for so many seasons is the same as it was. We have painted the bears black, the buffalos red, and the people blue. When we find a way to make another color, we can represent birds also. I had hoped that our experiments might give us that other color. I had even dreamed that birds might appear in the picture on the rock before our very eyes."
och tryck på knappen
Jag tycker att det är en metaforisk knapp:
"When we, as it were, push the button (give the nod to Epiktistes), this will be changed," Gregory said. "Epikt, by a complex of devices he has assembled, will send an Avatar (partly of mechanical and portly of ghostly construction), and something will have happened to the traitor Gano along about sundown one night on the road to Roncevalles."
[. . . .]
"Push the button, Epikt!" Gregory Smirnov ordered.
From his depths, Epiktistes the Ktistec machine sent out an Avatar, partly of mechanical and partly of ghostly construction. Along about sundown on the road from Pamplona to Roncevalles, on August 14 of the year 778, the traitor Gano was taken up from the road and hanged on a carob tree, the only one in those groves of oak and beech. And all things thereafter were changed.
om och om igen, varje gång du ändrar tidslinjen, ibland till det bättre, ibland till det värre ...
De trycker på knappen tre gånger i berättelsen:
"We will not call the experiment a failure since we have covered only a third of it," said Gregory. "Tomorrow we will make our second attempt on the past. And, if there is a present left to us after that, we will make a third attempt the following day."
Jag läste berättelsen på 80-talet, men det kan bero på 50-talet.
Som noterats ovan publicerades historien först 1967, men den har skrivits ut många gånger (någon av dessa omslag ser bekanta ut?). På 1980-talet kanske du har läst den i Ace-utgåvan 1982 av Laffertys samling Nio hundra farmor .
En klassisk berättelse om att ändra tidslinjer som har nämnts i kommentarerna i William Tenn s 1948 novell "Brooklyn-projektet" , vilket också var svaret på den gamla frågan Short story ID: Bouncing-Ball Time Travel . Den publicerades först i Planethistorier , fall 1948 , som finns tillgängligt på Internetarkiv (klicka på här för nedladdningsalternativ).
Som i den historia som du beskrev, utförs tidsexperimentet före en liten grupp människor:
The gleaming bowls of light set in the creamy ceiling dulled when the huge, circular door at the back of the booth opened. They returned to white brilliance as the chubby man in the severe black jumper swung the door shut behind him and dogged it down again.
Twelve reporters of both sexes exhaled very loudly as he sauntered to the front of the booth and turned his back to the semi-opaque screen stretching across it. Then they all rose in deference to the cheerful custom of standing whenever a Security official of the government was in the room.
He smiled pleasantly, waved at them, and scratched his nose with a wad of mimeographed papers. His nose was large and it seemed to give added presence to his person. "Sit down, ladies and gentlemen, do sit down. We have no official fol-de-rol in the Brooklyn Project. I am your guide, as you might say, for the duration of this experiment—the acting secretary to the executive assistant on press relations. My name is not important. Please pass these among you."
Enligt din beskrivning finns drastiska förändringar, men ingen är medvetna om dem eftersom deras minnen har förändrats:
XI. XII. XIII. XIV. XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. XIX. Bong—bong—bong bongbongbongongongngngngggg . . .
"—we are indeed ready for refraction. And that, I tell you, is good enough for those who billow and those who snap. But those who billow will be proved wrong as always, for in the snapping is the rolling and in the rolling is the only truth. There need be no change merely because of a sodden cilia. The apparatus has rested at last in the fractional conveyance, shall we view it subtly?
They all agreed, and their bloated purpled bodies dissolved into liquid and flowed up and around to the apparatus. When they reached its four square blocks, now no longer shrilling mechanically, the rose, solidified, and regained their slime-washed forms.
"See," cried the thing that had been the acting secretary to the executive assistant on press relations. "See, no matter how subtly! Those who billow were wrong: we haven't changed." He extended fifteen purple blobs triumphantly. "Nothing has changed!"
När Tenns "Brooklyn Project" inte matchar din beskrivning är det att ingen i Tenns historia försöker förändra det förflutna. Yttrandet är uppdelat mellan regeringsforskare som tror att det inte kommer att bli några förändringar, och dissidenter som fruktar världen kommer att ändras:
"The chronar has begun its journey to four billion years in the past! Ladies and gentlemen, an historic moment—a profoundly historic moment! It will not return for a little while; I shall use the time in pointing up and exposing the fallacies of the—ah, federation of chronic sighers!"
Nervous laughter rippled as the acting secretary to the executive assistant on press relations. The twelve journalists settled down to hearing the ridiculous ideas torn apart.
"As you know, one of the fears entertained about travel to the past was that the most innocent-seeming acts would cause cataclysmic changes in the present. You are probably familiar with the fantasy in its most currently popular form—if Hitler had been killed in 1930, he would not have forced scientists in Germany and later occupied countries to emigrate, this nation might not have had the atomic bomb, thus no third atomic war, and Australia would still be above the Pacific.
"The traitorous Shayson and his illegal federation extended this hypothesis to include much more detailed and minor acts such as shifting a molecule of hydrogen that in our past really was never shifted.
"At the time of the first experiment in he Coney Island Subproject, when the chronar was sent back for one-ninth of a second, a dozen different laboratories checked through every device imaginable, searched carefully for any conceivable change,. There were none! Government officials concluded that the time stream was a rigid affair, past, present, and future, and nothing in it could be altered. But Shayson and his cohorts were not satisfied, they—"