Provided by M. Bennardo
from vol. XII, no. 3
To the editor:
There has been recently a distressing increase in the tendency of our fellow time travelers to treat past and future history with ignorance, contempt, and apathy.
This boorish behavior was at least tolerable when confined to the usual tourist destinations, such as the sinking of the Titanic or the Great Fire of Chicago, but a recent trip to what I hoped would be a quiet moment at the feet of the poet Homer was marred when I encountered a party of loud, nasty, improperly dressed time travelers from the twentieth century.
I do not suppose any readers of National Chronologic are among the bad behavers, but I entreat all to redouble their efforts to uphold the codes of decent time travel no matter how cheap or common the technology may be in their era.
B.W. from 1895
from vol. XII, no. 4
I applaud the letter writer of the last number who raised the issue of inappropriate attire and behavior among time travelers from certain eras. What has happened to the sinking of the Titanic is deplorable and should fill every decent time traveler with indignation.
We must put a stop to this type of thing before every notable moment in history is ruined by these travelers “on the cheap” from ignorant eras.
E.T. from 1923
The sneer in the letter from B.W. in your last issue is impossible to miss. I suppose one must make allowances for less enlightened and less liberal eras, but I hope the rest of the National Chronologic Society will give this classist and era-ist call for time travel restrictions the wet raspberry it deserves.
That time travel has become “cheap” and “common” is a cause for celebration, not hand-wringing. The benefits of this wonderful technology should be accessible to anyone.
B.K. from 1969
from vol. XII, no. 5
It is disappointing that a journal as esteemed as National Chronologic should print such rubbish as was contained in the letter from B.K. last number. The objections expressed by B.W. are neither classist nor era-ist. The objections are to the behavior of these travelers, not when they come from or who they are.
Anyone who behaves in the correct way is welcome to see all of history, whether he hails from 1895 or 1995. But if he acts badly, he ought to be thrown out on his ear.
K.M. from 1911
It is indisputable that certain events in time, such as the sinking of the Titanic, have been utterly ruined. The decks of that doomed ocean liner, from after the lifeboats have been launched to just prior to the breaking of her back, have long been clogged with more gaping tourists than actual victims of the tragedy.
Worse, I am told that the event has in some eras attained the status of a “camp classic.” Certain travelers apparently return to the sinking again and again, shouting rude mottoes and brandishing ridiculous props in response to agreed-upon prompts. For example, I am given to understand by reliable witnesses that these travelers will shout in unison, as the ship goes back-end up in its final moments, the phrase “Why so stern?”
Quite apart from the disrespect and callousness on display, actual historical study of the event is no longer possible. The preservation of history should take precedence over all else in this discussion.
M.I. in 1973
I cannot speak for all eras, but in the late 21st century we would have a jolly hard laugh at any attempts to restrict time travel in any way. We are proud of our freedoms here and we insist that governments and other busybodies keep their opinions to themselves when it comes to the conduct of private citizens.
If only National Chronologic had the sense and guts to implement such a policy in its letters column as well.
M.D. from 2088
National Chronologic will continue to publish letters from readers in all eras and representing the diverse viewpoints of our readership without prejudice. – Ed.
from vol. XII, no. 6
Clearly none of the previous letter writers have ever actually been to the sinking of the Titanic. If they had, they would realize it is all in good fun. I have never understood the idea that past or future history must be preserved exactly as it always has been. If people aren’t able to enjoy history, what’s the point in visiting it?
S.G. from 1989
Readers of National Chronologic who are interested in helping establish voluntary guidelines for behavior for time travel are welcome to join the Interchronological Congress that meets on the third floor of the Kensington Building on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., from about mid-May 2263 to the end of January 2265.
Because space is limited, please limit attendance to a single instance of any individual at any given time.
M.T. from 2105
I must write in to thank K.M. for the permission to see all of history, despite the fact that I am from 1995. It is precisely this kind of offensive off-hand remark that feeds and fosters the era-ism that K.M. pretends to deplore.
E.C. from 1995
I for one cannot believe that National Chronologic is wasting any of its space to this tired old debate. It is obvious that this discussion serves no purpose except to create enmity between eras.
B.W. from 1935
Note: After researching the matter, we have concluded to our satisfaction that the last letter writer (B.W. from 1935) is almost certainly the same the one who started this discussion several issues ago (B.W. from 1895).
Longtime readers will recall that the letters editor reserves the right to summarily end any debate in which the same person writing from two different eras takes on two different sides of the issue.
It is with great satisfaction we do so now. – Ed.
National Chronologic is the official journal of the National Chronologic Society. Published concurrently across four centuries, the journal is recognized as the publication of record for amateur and professional time travelers. Please inquire at the most recent National Chronologic office for subscription costs in your era. Intertemporal delivery charges may apply for those outside the twenty-first century. Send payment, inquiries, or letters to T.W. Winners, editor-in-chief.
M. Bennardo’s short fiction appears in Redstone Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, and other markets. He is editor of the best-selling Machine of Death series of anthologies. He is also a contributor to The Time Traveler’s Pocket Guide, which is how he knows so much about time travel. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, but people everywhere can find him online at http://www.mbennardo.com.
Photo of the Titanic is from 123RF Stock Photo