The yarn that got away

Back in 1982, or perhaps it was ’83, I was working on a short story; it was my first real attempt in my quest to ‘become a writer’. I wrote the story on my first computer (an Amstrad PCW), which is long since departed – and my draft story along with it. That taught me a valuable lesson that’s stuck with me ever since:

Always keep backups

† plural – because backups can go walkies, too!

My story (I can’t remember if I gave it a title) involved a young man whose name was Kriston Masters (for some odd reason I recall that well). Kriston woke up one day and was surprised to find an odd box at the foot of his bed. The box was completely black; its surface was incredibly slippery, almost frictionless. Kriston tried to figure out what it was and where it had come from… he discovered some shallow indentations on its surface, stuck his fingers in some of them – and found himself transported in time. The story went on from there: eventually, he reverse-engineered the box and made a copy of it. The tale ended with Kriston using the duplicate box to take himself back in time and space to the bedroom where his earlier self gently snored. Quietly depositing the original box at the foot of the bed, he left the way he’d come.

(Just in case that’s too subtle: where did the original box come from?)

I had plans to expand upon this beginning, back then. It was to be a trilogy:

  • Book One: as described above.
  • Book Two: describes the utter mess of history that Kriston creates during his time travelling adventures.
  • Book Three: how he finally manages to untangle it all and get everything back to normal.

I never made a start on books Two or Three; largely because I could never get my head around how they might pan out. Fortunately, unbeknown to me, the concept wasn’t mine alone; other, smarter, heads had come up with it too…

Here’s an odd coincidence: The wonderful movie Back to the Future was released in 1985, and its sequels in 1989 and 1990. Wikipedia says that it “was conceived of in 1980 by Gale and Zemeckis” (ie some months before I began creating my Kriston yarn). I’m certain I hadn’t heard anything about this work. I can’t even imagine how I might have; I was in the UK, Gale and Zemeckis were in the US. They would no doubt have kept the concept under wraps – and there was no Internet back then to leak rumours and snippets all over the place. I can’t now recall what it was that sparked off the idea for my own short story and its sequels. It might perhaps have been Robert Heinlein’s novella By His Bootstraps, or maybe one of my favourite novels, The Door into Summer

… and here’s another odd coincidence: while searching for an appropriate page for that last link, I happened to notice that Takahiro Miki made that story into a movie that was released just last year.

The Door into Summer (2021) Japanese Movie Trailer English Subtitles
(夏への扉-キミのいる未来へ- 特報映像 英語字幕)

Excuse me, please, I have to go watch that (it’s on Netflix)…

About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, art, Fantasy, Flash fiction, Tech tips and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The yarn that got away

  1. Great minds think alike?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Often I feel thoughts are out there in the Universe that we subconsciously pick up on.. This is how inventors often other sides of the globe invent similar things at the same time and then they have accused one another of stealing their ideas..
    I feel Thoughts and ideas are often wisps waiting for us to pick them up.. :-)
    Another book there in the making..
    Sending thoughts your way

    Liked by 2 people

    • peNdantry says:

      I think you’re not wrong… I see too many peculiar coincidences; and I wonder how many that my mind dismisses out of hand as mere phlyarologisms, and how many more I miss seeing just because I’m in (slightly) the wrong place, wrong time. Extend for a lifetime, and multiply by almost nine billion (and counting)… that’s a heckuvva lot of coincidences!

      Mitakuye Oyasin, my dear friend. 🙏


      • Lots is going on within this matrix right now.
        Including glitches of time, seeming to repeat in Dejavu instances too.
        The more we become aware, the more we notice, not all in this world is how we’ve been taught it to be. 🤔😉😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hetty Eliot says:

    It’s a devastating feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m guilty of not 1. organizing my written words well, 2. not backing them up. It started with the fact that I didn’t think it was anything important. Some words lost here and there? Who would care? Now, I’m at this point that I’m starting to freak out about not having it all in one (multiple) place all neatly organized.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hi PeNdantry. At last, I’m starting to catch up on other peoples’ posts, although I’m still way behind on even reading the most recent posts from my readers. I’ve still got an infection from my op too and am on my second course of antibiotics. Fingers crossed they’ll work this time. Anyway, enough about me!

    How frustrating for you to find that someone else had come up with the same idea as your story even though you weren’t aware of it. It sounded like a good trilogy you were going to write, too. I remember Back to the Future well. There was a sequel after that, or maybe even two. Take care. Ellie 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • peNdantry says:

      If you want my advice (I’m aware you didn’t ask for it): Don’t stress out about ‘being behind’. I always am; even more so than usual, of late (and I need to take my own advice!)

      Infections aren’t fun. I’ve had my fair share and, so far, if one antibiotic hasn’t worked, the quacks have switched me on to another that has. Sadly, though, those days may soon be coming to an end… time will tell. In the meantime: “Get well soon!” :)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jeff Cann says:

    That’s a really clever idea for a story, especially at a time when time travel hadn’t been explored as deeply as now. It’s a shame you never followed through, you might be a household name now like Neil Gaiman. No judgement here through, I’m simply unable to come up with a fictional plot. I’ve written a total of three short stories in my life and they’re all thinly veiled versions of my life.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Bill Ziegler says:

    Heinlein was also one of my favorites in the hard science fiction era. I have large boxes of Analog, Galaxy, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Worlds of if… many gathered at a local books store in the 1960s. Some quite rare. Another roundtuit.
    I subscribe to A well-edited production.


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