Another shot at identifying this short story

This place has a very good track record for identifying stories, books, movies and actors.

But I stumped you.

In this thread that asked what was the first thread each of us started I found that my oldest thread was asking to identify a short story. Two posters replied and it went no where.

So I’m giving it another try. Maybe someone new will see it and know the answer. More likely the thread will die a quick and painless death.

Here is the original post:

At the time I mentioned Turtledove because he was one of the most frequent short story contributors to Analog at the time. I’m not at all sure it was him and it probably wasn’t but it did appear around the time he was publishing stories there under his name and under Eric G. Iverson.

So you have one more shot at this. Don’t blow it.

Or what, tovarish?

Or else I will make you watch the alternate ending of Big on a loop.

Hmm… I remember reading one of Heinlein’s later works in which he took a set of predictions he had made decades before and graded his performance. He was pretty on the mark with a lot of things, but missed on the global famine affecting food supplies in the US and his predictions about space colonization. His final point was something along the lines of “I still believe we’re going to make it to the Moon and beyond; it’s just not certain at this point that the colonists will be speaking English.”

I’m pretty sure I’ve read that story, maybe in Destinies “Magazine”. No title or author, but if you’ve got any of those around, it would be a good place to start.

And wasn’t future guy lying about being a time traveler?

Likeliest authors, Niven, Pournelle, Sheffield.

I was also thinking it sounded like some of Spider Robinson’s earlier stuff, the kind of thing that’d show up in a Callaghan’s Saloon story.

Niven and Pournelle were not frequent writers in Analog during that time period. Sheffield is a possibility. It’s more likely that it was a lesser known author.

No it didn’t read at all like a Spider Robinson story.

The only magazines I read at the time were Analog and then I started to get into Asimov’s. I’ve never even heard of Destinies. This was one of those short short stories with a quick set up and then a punch line. No need for exposition. No explanation of time travel. No character development. It had a quick point to make and no need to build a world or a fleshed out story.

The description doesn’t ring true to any Niven I’ve ever read, either.

Pournelle may have been that jingoistic, but I don’t think even he would have been that heavy-handed.

I have no idea what this story is, but your description has me really curious about what the tone of the ending it. Is it supposed to be ominous, like “OMG IT WAS RUSSIA THOSE BASTARDS!” or more egalitarian, like it was an international consortium organized by Canada for the good of all mankind?

How is that jingoistic? It was a criticism of how the NASA manned space program was allowed to fall apart. It wasn’t overly patriotic.

It didn’t matter.

I don’t know if you read a lot of short stories. I used to. Sometimes they are meant to make a particular point. They aren’t written to transport you to a different world. If the author wanted to build a world and write a story in it he would have. In this case it was just a lament on the state of NASA and the future of the space program in the U.S.

Ah, okay, got it. Yes, I get that short stories often end with a barb or a zinger, so “a commentary on the lack of support for the US space program” answers my question. I couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be more of a Cold War thing, that there is no more US and commies control the skies, etc.

“Destinies” was a “paperback magazine” which came out quarterly around the time in question, later published as “Far Frontiers” and “New Destinies”. Published SF, speculative fact, and was also into space advocacy, so it would have fit as a venue for the story in question. However, now that I’ve got the same bug about finding out the name of this story, I checked my shelves and no story title/author combination pinged my radar. I dumped my old Analog/Asimov’s a while ago, but it does seem to me that the story was accompanied by illustration in a fashion typical of those publications. (Destinies did it, too.)

In an effort to get the answer, I’ve reposted you OP on another board I visit (with all ID removed) where there are a lot of SF fans.

If nobody there knows it, and nobody here knows it, your best bet may be contacting the publications directly or maybe they have websites with forums on them where you could ask. You ever get an answer from any source, put it here so we’ll all know. Thanks.

I thought we identified this one - it’s “Dreamers” by Rick Cook Publication: Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, February 1988

Discussed (and confirmed) in this thread

It does remind me of a comic strip from Epic Illustrated. A professor is testifying to a presumed student about how he’s on the verge of cracking the secret of time travel. The student keeps trying to speak up, but the professor won’t let him talk. Finally, the student interjects with “But professor! That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you! I come from the future, and we perfected the use of time travel using your notes! I came back to thank you personally!”

The professor looks disappointed and says “I think then, I’ll have to stop keeping notes,” and the student fades away into oblivion.

Nice. I don’t remember that at all. I didn’t remember the original thread until the new thread I linked to in the OP. I really wish I had kept my old issues of Analog.

Sounds like Ed Lerner’s more recent story “Grandpa?” (which was made into a short movie, I think).

As I recall, I got the impression that it was Japan that got around to going into space eventually instead of American, but I could be wrong.

No problem; glad to help, and please keep the story id requests coming.