Eric P. Seelau Sheila M. Seelau Gary L. Wells Paul D. Windschitl Iowa State University
There is a delightful, creative short story written by Roger Zelazny ( 1981) in which time reverses for a man who then manages to change a critical event and undo his wife's untimely death.
He blew smoke through the cigarette and it grew longer. The clock told him it was 10:33 going on 10:32.... He turned the pages from left to right, his eyes retracing their path back along the line. (p. 417)
Zelazny captures the reader's fascination and elicits occasional surprise at what time reversal would be like:
He raised the telephone, said "good-bye," untold Murray that he would not be coming to work again tomorrow, listened a moment, recradled the phone and looked at it as it rang.... He backed his way to the funeral parlor, parked it, and climbed into the limousine. They backed all the way to the graveyard.... The casket was taken back to the hearse and returned to the funeral parlor.... The tears ran up his cheeks. (pp. 420-421)
Time reversal takes the man back to a heated argument that prompted his wife's stormy exit from their house on the evening of her death. Transported in time, the man is able to alter a critical event: Rather than stubbornly refusing to give in, he apologizes to his wife. By changing his response, the man effectively prevents his wife's tragic death.