EP074: Paradox & Greenblatt, Attorneys at Law

By Kevin J. Anderson.
Read by J.C. Hutchins (of the 7th Son podcast novels)

“The man talked a mile a minute in a thin, squeaky voice; even if he hadn’t been panicked, it probably would have sounded unpleasant. “All I did was try to stop him from buying her some deep-fried artichoke hearts. How could that be construed as attempted murder? They can’t pin anything on me, can they? Why would they think I was trying to kill anybody?”

“Maybe you’d better tell me, Mr. . . . uh?”

“Hendergast. Lionel Hendergast. And I read the terms of the contract very carefully before we went back in time. It didn’t say anything about deep-fried artichoke hearts.”

Rated R. Contains some profanity and explicit sexual imagery.

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Referenced sites:
The Rookie by Scott Sigler

Comments (24)

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  1. Scott says:

    I liked this story, as I have a soft spot for time travel stories. I would like more, this would make a great series in almost any regular media. The resolution between plantiff and defendant – too neat for my tastes. As always, keep up the good work.

  2. GJK says:

    I too really enjoy topics like time travel and wormholes. This would have to be one of my favorite stories in recent weeks. Please include more stories along these lines in the future. I’m also a big fan of J. C. Hutchins. He always does a great job at making the stories he reads interesting to me.

  3. Lar says:

    Good story with a great reading by JC. But, it was weird hearing Dr. Kleinman’s voice coming out of another character’s mouth.

  4. Josh says:

    A sequel to “A Gun for Dinosaur”? Enjoyed it.

  5. Adolfo says:

    I am no fan of Kevin J. Anderson.
    *End Disclaimer*

    I really like this story.
    I think this story exemplifies the
    light-hearted escapist story Steve
    stated he wants to provide from time to time.

    A very enjoyable piece of fiction.
    Despite my misgivings about the author.

  6. Alexandra P says:

    What a fantatstic story! Delano is one of the best names I’ve come across recently. And superbly read, too – thanks!

  7. Graham Pollard says:

    Loved this story. I love time travel. More please.
    Graham Pollard

  8. Odin says:

    As Josh noted, this had some excellent references to an old (X-1?) radio show called “Gun for Dinosaur”. It was really neat to hear references to something like this in a new story.

    On the other hand, as soon as the old dna on the alcohol glass gambit was played, it was obvious where this story was headed.

    Not the best, far from the worst.

  9. J Clark says:

    Clever little story. I think it’s interesting more for the ideas presented than the story itself. If time travel ever did become common place (I doubt it, but every sci-fi story gets one “gimme”, so it’s all good), iit makes sense that there would be bizarre and complex legalities to be worked out, it’s just not something you generally think of. Interesting ideas, the story was merely a vehicle to get them out.

  10. I agree with Clark. It’s nice to see someone look at the practical legal realities of a world where time travel has become routine, instead of just going through another tired revision of “A Sound of Thunder”.

    I liken it to “Total Recall”, where the question became not “Can we do this?” but “What package do you want us to put on your credit card?”. Other than the fact that I find the average Joe going back in time a little implausible, Mr. Anderson still does the subject justice.

  11. Mark says:

    An excellent, light bit of fiction. Like Odin, I found the DNA on a glass to be too obvious but the legal implications of time travel were interestingly played out. More stories like this one would not go amiss.

  12. WNYRPG says:

    Liked this story a lot. I’d like to discuss it in the regular forum but the spammers have just about killed things off in there.

    Steve, you need a team of moderators! Start handing out the tin badges!

  13. George says:

    I’m starting to wonder if I’m the only one who likes action, rather than dialogue, in my science fiction stories? Let’s recap:

    1. Lawyer and client talk
    2. Lawyer, plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel talk
    3. Court scene where more people talk

    There was *no* action. The only interesting things (the attempted murder, the adultery, the drama) happened off-stage.

    I don’t dislike time travel stories as a rule — but I do dislike stories in which nothing happens.

  14. Simon says:

    I enjoyed this, thought it was the most solidly “idea game” piece you’ve done in a while (time travel stories are pretty much the classic SF idea game). Nice work.

    I will say that I agree with Mark and Odin – the moment he took the glass you could spot the rest of the story coming. But that’s fair enough really, half the fun of a good time travel story.

    While this didn’t have any “action” it did really keep the ideas flowing, which is what I think of when you say “strong pacing”, so I have to disagree with George and say I thought this was paced just right.

  15. Dotan Dimet says:

    OMG, the Scott Sigler trailer at the end is the **funniest thing on the Internet**!l!l!1!

    Can I download an MP3 of it from somewhere, or do I need to find a way of slicing it out of this episode’s tail?

  16. Mike says:

    I loved the story. I always like stories that show real world applications and implications of sci fi ideas. The legal system would react something like that… The only other people that would take that long to react would be the insurance system creating ‘paradox protection’ against your life, name and family; no idea how it would work though…

  17. grommit says:

    This was a really good story. Good narrator, well told, an endthat I could see coming, but didn’t care.

  18. Jeff says:

    I also enjoyed this. I’m firmly in the ‘if its going to happen, it did happen’ camp of time travel. This story now sets that as legal precedent. And we all know what that’s worth…..

  19. […] This week on Retrieval Detachment: Time Machines And Your Corporation – How To Survive In The New Chronology. We discuss the concepts behind the Escape Pod stories ‚ÄúParadox And Greenblatt, Attorneys At Law” by Kevin J. Anderson, and “I Look Forward To Remembering You” by Mur Lafferty. […]

  20. Bruce says:

    I like the idea of time travel paradox being dealt with in a court room setting and the initial revelation of the “crime” was excellent. I just felt that the “surprise twist” was predictable and kind of an easy way out.

  21. Dan Clark says:

    Great story, but I was anticipating a different ending: Delano R. Franklin is the grandson of Lionel Hendergast. The description of Hendergast by Paramus in the prison meeting room indicates he looked decades older than being in his mid 20s. Perhaps he gave that wallet back and then married and had children, and then returned to 2025 thinking he‚Äôd succeeded in erasing Franklin from history? Nope, a paternity test would definitely rule that out if it indicated Franklin as Hendergast’s father‚Äîeven if he was his grandfather AND his son (which would not be a paradox, interestingly enough).

    A weak ending relative to what I was expecting, but keep the time travel stories coming!

  22. Archie says:

    Great story. Fun and fast paced. I saw where it was going but late in the day. I would love to hear more from this firm of lawyers!

  23. This was a really nice story! I am intrigued by the thoughts of time-travelling.

  24. I love the story, thank you for publishing it.