British author Bob Shaw first used the concept of “slow glass” in his most widely acclaimed story, “Light of Other Days” (1966, published in Analog). This Nebula Award-nominated story is included in the novel as what Shaw calls a “sidelight,” together with two other stories.
“Light of Other Days” both illustrates the human dimension of the new technology and forms a counterpoint to the personal situation in Garrod’s family. His childless marriage parallels a story of a husband and wife waiting for the approaching birth of their unwanted child. They stop on a trip to buy a scenedow with a spectacular view, from a farmer they see sitting on the stone wall surrounding his house. The revelation that he was watching the Retardite window that stored the images of his wife and child, killed in an accident six years earlier, mellows the mood of the couple, who were bitter because of the oncoming change in their lives.
The second sidelight story is “Burden of Proof” (1967). It concerns a judge waiting for five years to see in the “slow glass” if he was correct in sentencing a criminal to death. It immediately precedes the amateur detective feat of Garrod, who proves with the help of a silent witness the innocence of his father-in-law, despite a complete set of condemning evidence. The last sidelight, “A Dome of Many-Colored Glass” (1972), is much less organic to the story but shows the extent to which the new...
(The entire section is 449 words.)