85 ezer szó
Ez a regény nem könnyű olvasmány. Ifjúsági sci-fi, de akadtak már, akik nem tudták követni a történet csavarjait. Pedig Sara Royce megmondta: az időutazás színtiszta természettudomány. Ő csak tudja. Ő találta fel az időgépet, és családjával együtt egy sereg Nobel-díjra érdemes. Csakhogy nem kaphatják meg, amíg helyre nem állítják a kisiklott történelmet.
85 thousand words, 2006, coauthored by Láng Krisztina, my late first wife
In 2065, the Royce family – 14 year old Sara, 12 year old twins Katie and Ken plus their parents who are both university professors of physics – move to a small town in Nova Scotia, Canada. Sara is stunned on learning the school she’ll attend is named after Sarah Royce, a 19th century writer of local fame, whose name differs from hers by just a single letter. The kids in the school mock her, saying she came from the 19th century. A talk on time travel inspires Sara to think about this.
She discovers several Royce’s Laws on quantum mechanics, and some on time travel. The family starts working on designing a time machine, buying a Ford van and building the time travel equipment into it. They gradually invent a completely navigable time travelling vehicle, complete with the time viewer, a temporal camera that can look into different times.
The first manned temporal trip leads ten thousand years into the past, without mishap. But the second one happens by accident, when the parents aren’t in the timeford, just the kids. They go back to the 18th century, scaring a boy who was there with his sheep. They return immediately to the 21st century.
Calling their parents reveals they are at work as normal – but that can’t be the case as they went on research leave because of the time machine. But now they didn’t ever build any time machine.
We’ve changed history, Sara says.
Now they’re on a different timeline. The differences seem small: they’re still living in the house and are still the children of their parents, but they never built a time machine. The family, of course, is present in full on this timeline too, including the kids who, returning from school, are dumbfounded on seeing themselves and learning that they invented the time machine.
It turns out the school is now named after John Lennon. Sarah Royce disappeared from history. Her name gave the inspiration for Sara to develop the time machine, but with the school now having another name, this hasn’t happened and there is no time machine. They try to discover the link between the frightened shepherd boy and Sarah Royce who was born a century later, but to no avail, so they decide they must reinstall Sarah Royce back into history.
On their first trip of exploration in 1883, they meet a man, Ebenezer Thornpike, who calls himself a scientist – he’s an old bachelor living on his property, crafting things and reading books on science. Judging him trustful, they tell him the whole story, and even bring him back to the 21st century. Ebenezer, now the greatest admirer of 21st century technology, helps them to recreate the image of Sarah Royce, framed as a distant relative of his, recently orphaned and therefore moving here to live with her only remaining relative. The little town of 1883 appreciates Sarah – played by both Saras, alternating – and she becomes a well known figure in the town’s life for some months, up until they arrange her death by falling into the river, with her body never found. Before leaving 1883, the Saras tell their good friend Ebenezer that he’ll leave no trace in the future; no invention or other deed will be connected to his name. He sells his property and leaves the 19th century with them.
But the problem persists.
They discover that Sarah’s books, donated by Ebenezer to the town library after her death, had disappeared from the library between 1935 and 1937. Ebenezer, under the name Harry Potter, applies for employment in the library in 1935 and manages to place other copies on the shelves and in the catalog. But this doesn’t solve the problem.
Finally they discover there is an additional member of Sara’s school class who wasn’t there originally. They need to go back to 1987 and 1982 to derail the family tree and make the additional schoolmate non-existent, until they finally succeed: the Royce family is now complete, both ones.
They announce time travel to the world. They receive three Nobel prizes and worldwide fame. A year later, the Royce Temporal Physical Research Center is founded.
Four years after their adventures, on their 18th birthday, both Sara One and Two Royces marry Ebenezer Thornpike.