By David McLain, Illustrated by Felix Eddy
“If you need to know men's secrets
Or if there's something you need to find
If you want to see the dinosaurs
Or the insides of your mind.
If you want to watch the earth begin,
Or see what the apocalypse will leave behind,
You need to thank Alice Anderson,
For Alice is the mother of time.”
That was how the rhyme went. Every time traveler knew it. Everyone that is, except of course, for Alice herself, since she hadn’t invented time travel yet. Since returning to London, Alice’s life has been turned upside down. She’s been accused of murder and lost her position in the scientific community. Her only ally in this journey is a strange man who seems to think that Alice may be about to open up a strange new world of possibilities, but is probably not telling her everything he knows.
Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Time Travel, Adventure, Adult, 450+ pages with illustrations
Read an Excerpt:
Heathrow Airport, being first and foremost an airport, and secondly, a product of the military industrial transportation complex, had clearly been designed by an architect who worshiped at the altar of some unknown god of confusion and banality. In a haze of forgetfulness, Alice muddled through the maze of escalators and coffee-coloured hallways, finally finding her way to baggage claim. She had been there for exactly nine-and-a-half seconds when her mobile rang.
“Hello?” she asked, sleepily.
“Either you have taken a job at NORAD and you’re on twenty-four-hour missile watch or you’ve just gotten off the flight from Heathrow,” Malcolm said.
“I should have gone to graduate school in Tokyo,” Alice mumbled. “I could have taken the Orient Express whenever I came back home.”
“I can’t imagine that the stars would be much to look at under the Tokyo lights.”
“I just spent the night sleeping between two strangers, in a chair the size of a dishrag. Changing majors seems like a small price to pay.”
He considered this. “Strictly speaking, there’s really a very small pool of Astrophysicists who have spectacular breasts. It would be a shame to lose you to French Literature.”
“Why would I be studying French Literature in Tokyo?”
“You know, I hear that Baudelaire isn’t the same until you’ve read it in the original Japanese.”
Alice groaned. In the world of Astrophysicists, there are claims to fame, and there are claims to fame. Albert Einstein, Edwin Hubble, and Isaac Newton had the former. Alice on the other hand, had the latter. Alice was known far and wide as the world’s sexiest astrophysicist. Her hold on the title of sexiest astrophysicist had nothing to do with appearance; anybody walking through the airport would see an attractive but ordinary woman, in possession of soft curves, pale blue eyes, and a head of curly red hair that seemed to prove the laws of electromagnetism fairly distinctly. For the past two years, Alice had been the sultry, deep-throated voice of Astropod, a weekly podcast about astronomy, physics, and the known universe. Alice had over twenty thousand regular listeners. It was a project that she had begun at the invitation of Malcolm Oliver, who had invited her to be his co-host after hearing her give a presentation on galaxy superstructures as an undergraduate student. Although starting the podcast had been Malcolm's idea, she hadn't actually heard his voice in a while. She didn't want to admit it, but his deep intonation and dry delivery were comforting. “Is that what you're working on, these days?” she asked him. “Baudelaire?”
“I'm exploring the theoretical parameters of multidimensional space time with regard to fictional realism,” Malcolm said. “Baudelaire wrote poetry, so unless you’re planning on visiting a universe where everyone speaks naturally in blank verse, I think that probably his work and mine aren't going to intersect. How was the flight?”
“I'm exhausted, my back hurts, and I need to take a shower with roughly the same level of urgency as a monkey at a rock concert,” Alice admitted. Then, without thinking about it, she admitted something else. “I've missed you,” she said.
About the Author:
David McLain studied writing at the University of Massachusetts. He is the author of the two novels: Dragonbait, and The Life of a Thief. His stories have been published in the anthologies Metastasis, Penny Dread II, and the upcoming Doctor Who Anthology Time Shadows, as well as over two dozen magazines, including Harvard's Dudley Review. He has been featured on NPR's Off the Page and the History of England podcast. He lives in New York.