Far into the future, Hartstein’s graduation present from his grandparents is a wonderful trip into the past. In the world of George Alec Effinger’s The Bird of Time, time travel is a lucrative tourist industry, with one smallish issue: two percent never come back. This cover-up is the work of something called The Agency, which conveniently hasn’t told Hartstein that there’s a war going on on the other side. Have a nice holiday, Hartstein, and come back…er…soon? Whenever? At all?
The Bird of Time is one of seventeen great works by the award-winning Effinger. You may see all of them, including his great “Budayeen” series (When Gravity Fails, A Fire in the Sun, The Exile Kiss and Budayeen Nights), on his author page.