The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Millennium is written in the first person, alternating between the viewpoints of Louise Baltimore, of the ninety-ninth century, and Bill Smith, of the twentieth. The human race in the ninety-ninth century is dying out, crippled by genetic diseases and a poisoned environment. Baltimore is part of a group that kidnaps people from times past who were about to die in such a way that their bodies would either not be found or be difficult to identify. They plan to use healthy humans from past centuries to found a new human race on another planet. Most of the people taken from the twentieth century are from airplane crashes; earlier they were from shipwrecks. Smith is an airplane-crash investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.

The ninety-ninth century kidnappers accidentally leave a futuristic gun on a plane as a result of confusion caused by a hijacker. Smith finds the gun, and Baltimore has to deal with the resulting paradox, which she calls a “twonky.” Smith discovers some other paradoxes before Baltimore gets to him. Then, rather than dulling his suspicions as she intends, Baltimore sharpens them, because she does not know how to fit perfectly into the twentieth century. On her first trip back to Smith’s time, made before Smith discovers the gun, Baltimore locates it but becomes rattled and flees before she can recover it. On her second trip, she stumbles across Smith’s immobile body; he had stunned himself trying to take...

(The entire section is 444 words.)