Аннали Ньюиц: The Future of Another Timeline

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Аннали Ньюиц The Future of Another Timeline
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    The Future of Another Timeline
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    Фантастика и фэнтези / на английском языке
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    New York
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The Future of Another Timeline: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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From Annalee Newitz, founding editor of io9, comes a story of time travel, murder, and the lengths we’ll go to protect the ones we love. 1992: After a confrontation at a riot grrl concert, seventeen-year-old Beth finds herself in a car with her friend’s abusive boyfriend dead in the backseat, agreeing to help her friends hide the body. This murder sets Beth and her friends on a path of escalating violence and vengeance as they realize many other young women in the world need protecting too. 2022: Determined to use time travel to create a safer future, Tess has dedicated her life to visiting key moments in history and fighting for change. But rewriting the timeline isn’t as simple as editing one person or event. And just when Tess believes she’s found a way to make an edit that actually sticks, she encounters a group of dangerous travelers bent on stopping her at any cost. Tess and Beth’s lives intertwine as war breaks out across the timeline—a war that threatens to destroy time travel and leave only a small group of elites with the power to shape the past, present, and future. Against the vast and intricate forces of history and humanity, is it possible for a single person’s actions to echo throughout the timeline?

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Annalee Newitz


For Charlie Jane—rebel girl,

I know I want to take you home

Up to this point, travelers have merely observed history. The point is to change it.


He never saw the streets of Cairo
On the Midway he was never glad
He never saw the hoochie coochie
Poor little country lad


I like to see the tall girls
I like to see the short girls
I like to see the fat girls
I like to see the thin girls
I like to see the trans girls
I like to see the cis girls
I like to see the brown girls
I like to see the blondies
I like to see the sweet girls
I like to see the bitches
the bitches the bitches I like to see the bitches

—GRAPE APE (1992)



Irvine, Alta California (1992 C.E.)

Drums beat in the distance like an amplified pulse. People streamed over the dirt road, leather boots laced to their knees, eyes ringed in kohl, ears and lips studded with precious metals. Some gathered in an open square below the steep path to the amphitheater, making a bonfire out of objects stolen from their enemies. The smoke reeked of something ancient and horrific; materials far older than humanity were burning. A rusty sunset painted everyone in blood, and shrieks around the flames mixed with faraway chanting.

It could have been Rome under Nero. It could have been Samarkand when the Sogdians fled. It could have been Ataturk’s new Istanbul, or a feast day in Chaco Canyon. The technologies were industrial, Neolithic, and medieval. The screams were geochronologically neutral.

I paused, smelling the toxins, watching a woman with jet-black lips and blue hair pretend to eat a spider. One of her companions laughed. “Michelle, you are so gross! This isn’t an Ozzy concert!” They paused at the ticket booths to flip off the Vice Fighters, a gang of conservative protesters waving signs covered in Bible quotes. Some of them were burning CDs in a garbage can, and the stench of melting plastic formed a noxious bubble around their demonstration.

The Machine had not delivered me to an ancient war, nor to an anti-imperialist celebration. I was at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater in 1992, deep in the heart of Orange County, Alta California. Soon I’d be seeing one of the greatest punk bands of the decade. But I wasn’t here for history tourism. Somewhere in this rowdy concert crowd, a dangerous conspiracy was unfolding. I needed to find out who was behind it. If these bastards succeeded, they would destroy time travel, locking us into one version of history forever.

* * *

I bought a lawn seat and raced up the winding pedestrian walkway to the seating area, lurid with stadium lights. The theater was relatively small and open to the sky, with a steep grade of loge seats above the prized orchestra section next to the stage. The lawn formed a green semicircle above it all, pocked with mud puddles and beer cans. Still, even up here, the air vibrated with anticipation for the headliner. Spotlights sent a cluster of beams racing around the stage.

Grape Ape’s lead singer Glorious Garcia strutted out alone, sequins on her tattered skirt shimmering in the glare. She let out a furious howl. “HOLA, BITCHES! IF ANYONE CALLED YOU A SLUT TODAY, SAY IT WITH ME! SLUT SLUT SLUT!” All around me, women joined the chant. They wore battered combat boots, shredded jeans, and wrecked dresses. They had tattoos and black nail polish and looked like warrior queens from another planet. Tangled hair flashed in every possible artificial color. “YOU SLUTS ARE BEAUTIFUL!” Glorious fisted the air and aimed her mic at the crowd, still chanting, “SLUT SLUT SLUT!” Back when I went to this concert for the first time, I was an angry sixteen-year-old with too many piercings for suburbia, wearing a military jacket over a 1950s dress.

Now I was forty-seven on the books, fifty-five with travel time. My eyes flicked to the things I never would have seen back then. Everyone looked so scrubbed and affluent. Our rebel fashions were cobbled together from the expensive stuff we’d seen in some New York Times story about grunge. But what really jolted me was the way people occupied themselves as they waited for the music to start. Nobody was texting or taking selfies. And without phones, people didn’t know what to do with their eyes. I didn’t either. I watched a guy in a Dead Kennedys shirt urging a hip flask on a woman who was already so drunk she could barely stand in her platform creepers. She stumbled against him, swigging, and he gave a thumbs-up sign to his pal. The punk scene, once my inspiration, now looked like a bunch of future bankers and tech executives learning how to harass women.

The rest of the band charged on stage, Maricela Hernandez’s guitar squealing over the clatter of drums and bass fuzz. Cigarette smoke and sound merged into a throbbing haze around us. From my distant perch, Glorious was a tiny figure with the biggest voice in the world.


That took me back. In 1991, a huge group of refugees fleeing Mexico had drowned in the Gulf of California, just as they’d almost reached the safety of U.S. soil in Baja. They’d gotten tangled in offshore nets the border patrol set up to stop illegal immigrants.

The music tore through me until it merged with muscle and bone. I had a job to do, but I couldn’t move. Grape Ape was the only thing here that hadn’t been warped by my disillusionment. They still had the power to replace my cynicism with a feeling that careened between hope and outrage. Strobe lights churned the darkness, and the audience frenzy reached beyond fandom, struggling toward something else. Something revolutionary.

Then I felt a broad hand on my upper arm, squeezing a little too hard, and a large male body pressed against my back. I tried to elbow him and wriggle away, but the still-invisible stranger held me in place. He leaned down to whisper-yell in my ear, blotting out the music. “I know you must have many daughters at your age, and you are worried about their future.” His voice was smooth, and his warm breath smelled like lavender and mint. With his free hand, he started massaging my neck as he continued to grip my arm. “That’s why you come to places like this. To find a better way for women. We want that too. Maybe you’ll look past your prejudice against men and read our zine.”

At last he released me and I whirled to face him. He pulled his zine from a rumpled Kinko’s bag. Grainy Xeroxed images of women in chains adorned the cover, and letters torn from magazines spelled out the title: COLLEGE IS A LIE. Flipping through the pages of ten-point Courier font and smeary cartoons, I scanned a few typical punk rants against suburban brainwashing: college teaches conformity, turns you into a corporate drone, destroys true art, blah blah blah. But there was a weird strand of gender politics in it. Over and over, the anonymous authors preached that college “destroys feminine freedoms inherited from our ancestors on the plains of Africa” and “is anti-uterus.” I scanned a paragraph:

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