I’ve been having a lot of trouble with
this post because I’ve been searching for a good scan from the above
cover. Despite my efforts, I haven’t been able to find it.
This is a telling issue for pulps in general, because there were so
many over the years, and there was so little effort to save them, that
some are likely to have been lost forever. Luckily, I found at least a
few scans of the cover, neither is very good, but I’ll get what I can
So why was I interested in finding a scan of this issue? Because a story included in the above-mentioned “Time Travelers” book is inside this particular issue of Satellite Science Fiction.
The story “The Reason is With Us” by James E. Gunn is a neat little time-flying read.
In it, the protagonist is a special agent with a
time-exploration/enforcement agency who has become so imbittered with
his organization that he goes on the lam.
According to the agency’s “don’t botch up the time continuum” rules,
when you time travel, you “can’t take anything with you” and you “can’t
leave anything behind.”
So the protagonist deposits himself in 1950s America where he carefully
selects an unassuming life. He becomes a banker. Marries a pretty – but
not too pretty – and demure wife. Buys a house. Reads the paper. Goes
out with “friends” (who have been carefully selected).
His goal is to never allow a hint of his time-jumping past slip out. He
doesn’t bet on the horses. He doesn’t vote. He doesn’t take advantage
of his knowledge of future events.
But then one day, he gets a note. It says that he’s been found out and he should expect to be deported soon.
Immediately he suspects that one of his coworkers is a counter agent and plots to kill the suspect.
As he plots, he’s lying in bed, awake next to his now-pregnant wife,
and that’s when he sees a mark on his wife he never noticed before — a
mark that “brands” her as a time agent. She was the one. All these
years she knew. All this time she had plotted to corner him. She had
convinced him that he loved her. She had duped him into a trap.
As he hovers over her wondering if he should kill him, she wakes and
tells him to prepare for deportation, trial and confinement.
It’s then that he reminds her that they can’t. It would be illegal.
Why? she asks.
“The reason is with us,” he says, pointing to her belly. The rules say
a time traveler can’t leave anything behind, and a traveler can’t take
anything with them.
He’ll be leaving a baby behind if he goes. And if she goes, she’ll be taking it with her.
So, they stay.
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