The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

A young man named Daniel Jamieson Eakins inherits a time traveling belt device from his “Uncle Jim.” He decides to go one day into the future, get that day’s newspaper, and then bounce back to the present and go to the races. The newspaper will allow him to place winning bets on horses. When he does so, he encounters his future “self,” who proposes that they go together to the races. They do so and win a large sum of money, then go out to celebrate afterward. Daniel becomes his future self, waiting for his past self to pop into the future. He repeats the experience of attending the races with his earlier self.

Curious about whether he can alter the past, he changes the size of the bets placed and is about to attempt to turn what was a $57,600 five-horse parlay into a $1.5 million eight-horse parlay. Another future version of himself appears to warn him that such an action will lead to unpleasant consequences, such as massive publicity and an investigation.

Daniel engages in a wide range of activities in the past, present, and future, always certain that, should anything unpleasant or harmful be about to occur, one of his future “selves” will appear to warn him in time to alter his behavior. Through the use of the time travel device, apparently endless numbers of alternate versions of himself are able to simultaneously visit the same time, resulting in such recreations as poker games with a room full of his alternate selves and...

(The entire section is 599 words.)