April 2006 Message from Dan
Greetings Readers, Friends, and Other Visitors:
The Time Traveler appeared suddenly in my study on New Year's Eve,
2004. He was a stolid, grizzled man in a gray tunic and looked to be in
his late-sixties or older. He also appeared to be the veteran of wars
or of some terrible accident since he had livid scars on his face and
neck and hands, some even visible in his scalp beneath a fuzz of gray
hair cropped short in a military cut. One eye was covered by a black
eyepatch. Before I could finish dialing 911 he announced in a husky
voice that he was a Time Traveler come back to talk to me about the
Being a sometimes science-fiction writer but not a fool, I said,
"Do you remember Replay?" he said.
My finger hovered over the final "1" in my dialing. "The 1987
novel?" I said. "By Ken Grimwood?"
The stranger - Time Traveler, psychotic, home invader, whatever he
was - nodded.
I hesitated. The novel by Grimwood had won the World Fantasy Award a
year or two after my first-novel, Song of Kali, had. Grimwood's book
was about a guy who woke up one morning to find himself snapped back
decades in his life, from the late 1980's to himself as a college
student in 1963, and thus getting the chance to relive - to replay
- that life again, only this time acting upon what he'd already
learned the hard way. In the book, the character, who was to experience
- suffer - several Replays, learned that there were other people
from his time who were also Replaying their lives in the past, their
bodies younger but their memories intact. I'd greatly enjoyed the
book, thought it deserved the award, and had been sad to hear that
Grimwood had died . . . when? . . . in 2003.
So, I thought, I might have a grizzled nut case in my study this New
Year's Eve, but if he was a reader and a fan of Replay, he was
probably just a sci-fi fan grizzled nut case, and therefore probably
harmless. Possibly. Maybe.
I kept my finger poised over the final "1" in "911."
"What does that book have to do with you illegally entering my home
and study?" I asked.
The stranger smiled ... almost sadly I thought. "You asked me to
prove that I'm a Time Traveler," he said softly. "Do you remember
how Grimwood's character in Replay went hunting for others in the
1960's who had traveled back in time from the late 1980's?"
I did remember now. I'd thought it clever at the time. The guy in
Replay, once he suspected others were also replaying into the past, had
taken out personal ads in major city newspapers around the country. The
ads were concise. "Do you remember Three Mile Island, Challenger,
Watergate, Reaganomics? If so, contact me at . . ."
Before I could say anything else on this New Year's Eve of 2004, a
few hours before 2005 began, the stranger said, "Terri Schiavo,
Katrina, New Orleans under water, Ninth Ward, Ray Nagin, Superdome,
Judge John Roberts, White Sox sweep the Astros in four to win the World
Series, Pope Benedict XVI, Scooter Libby."
"Wait, wait!" I said, scrambling for a pen and then scrambling even
faster to write. "Ray who? Pope who? Scooter who?"
"You'll recognize it all when you hear it all again," said the
stranger. "I'll see you in a year and we'll have our
"Wait!" I repeated. "What was that middle apart . . . Ray Nugin?
Judge who? John Roberts? Who is . . ." But when I looked up he was
"White Sox win the Series?" I muttered into the silence. "Fat
I was waiting for him on New Year's Eve 2005. I didn't see him
enter. I looked up from the book I was fitfully reading and he was
standing in the shadows again. I didn't dial 911 this time, nor
demand any more proof. I waved him to the leather wingchair and said,
"Would you like something to drink?"
"Scotch," he said. "Single malt if you have it."
Our conversation ran over two hours, but the following is the gist of
it. I'm a novelist by trade. I remember conversations pretty well.
(Not as perfectly as Truman Capote was said to be able to recall long
conversations word for word, but pretty well.)
The Time Traveler wouldn't tell me what year in the future he was
from. Not even the decade or century. But the gray cord trousers and
blue-gray wool tunic top he was wearing didn't look very far-future
science-fictiony or military, no Star Trekky boots or insignia, just
wellworn clothes that looked like something a guy who worked with his
hands a lot would wear. Construction maybe.
"I know you can't tell me details about the future because of time
travel paradoxes," I began. I hadn't spent a lifetime reading and
then writing SF for nothing.
"Oh, bugger time travel paradoxes," said the Time Traveler. "They
don't exist. I could tell you anything I want to and it won't
change anything. I just choose not to tell you some things."
I frowned at this. "Time travel paradoxes don't exist? But surely
if I go back in time and kill my grandfather before he meets my
grandmother . . ."
The Time Traveler laughed and sipped his Scotch. "Would you want to
kill your grandfather?" he said. "Or anyone else?"
"Well . . .Hitler maybe," I said weakly.
The Traveler smiled, but more ironically this time. "Good luck," he
said. "But don't count on succeeding."
I shook my head. "But surely anything you tell me now about the
future will change the future," I said.
"I gave you a raft of facts about your future a year ago as my bona
fides," said the Time Traveler. "Did it change anything? Did you
save New Orleans from drowning?"
"I won $50 betting on the White Sox in October," I admitted.
The Time Traveler only shook his head. "Quod erat demonstrandum,"
he said softly. "I could tell you that the Mississippi River flows
generally south. Would your knowing about it change its course or flow
I thought about this. Finally I said, "Why did you come back? Why do
you want to talk to me? What do you want me to do?"
"I came back for my own purposes," said the Time Traveler, looking
around my booklined study. "I chose you to talk to because it was . .
. convenient. And I don't want you to do a goddamned thing. There's
nothing you can do. But relax . . . we're not going to be talking
about personal things. Such as, say, the year, day, and hour of your
death. I don't even know that sort of trivial information, although I
could look it up quickly enough. You can release that white-knuckled
grip you have on the edge of your desk."
I tried to relax. "What do you want to talk about?" I said.
"The Century War," said the Time Traveler.
I blinked and tried to remember some history. "You mean the Hundred
Year War? Fifteenth Century? Fourteenth? Sometime around there. Between
. . . France and England? Henry V? Kenneth Branagh? Or was it . . ."
"I mean the Century War with Islam," interrupted the Time Traveler.
"Your future. Everyone's." He was no longer smiling. Without
asking, or offering to pour me any, he stood, refilled his Scotch
glass, and sat again. He said, "It was important to me to come back
to this time early on in the struggle. Even if only to remind myself of
how unspeakably blind you all were."
"You mean the War on Terrorism," I said.
"I mean the Long War with Islam," he said. "The Century War. And
it's not over yet where I come from. Not close to being over."
"You can't have a war with Islam," I said. "You can't go to
war against a religion. Radical Islam, maybe. Jihadism. Some
extremists. But not a . . . the . . . religion itself. The vast
majority of Muslims in the world are peaceloving people who wish us no
harm. I mean . . . I mean . . . the very word 'Islam' means
"So you kept telling yourselves," said the Time Traveler. His voice
was very low but there was a strange and almost frightening edge to it.
"But the 'peace' in 'Islam' means 'Submission.' You'll
find that out soon enough"
Great, I was thinking. Of all the time travelers in all the gin joints
in all the world, I get this racist, xenophobic, right-wing asshole.
"After Nine-eleven, we're fighting terrorism," I began, "not .
He waved me into silence.
"You were a philosophy major or minor at that podunk little college
you went to long ago," said the Time Traveler. "Do you remember
what Category Error is?"
It rang a bell. But I was too irritated at hearing my alma mater being
called a "podunk little college" to be able to concentrate fully.
"I'll tell you what it is," said the Time Traveler. "In
philosophy and formal logic, and it has its equivalents in science and
business management, Category Error is the term for having stated or
defined a problem so poorly that it becomes impossible to solve that
problem, through dialectic or any other means."
I waited. Finally I said firmly, "You can't go to war with a
religion. Or, I mean . . . sure, you could . . . the Crusades and all
that . . . but it would be wrong."
The Time Traveler sipped his Scotch and looked at me. He said, "Let
me give you an analogy . . ."
God, I hated and distrusted analogies. I said nothing.
"Let's imagine," said the Time Traveler, "that on December
eighth, Nineteen forty-one, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke
before a joint session of Congress and asked them to declare war on
"That's absurd," I said.
"Is it?" asked the Time Traveler. "The American battleships,
cruisers, harbor installations, Army barracks, and airfields at Pearl
Harbor and elsewhere in Hawaii were all struck by Japanese aircraft.
Imagine if the next day Roosevelt had declared war on aviation . . .
threatening to wipe it out wherever we found it. Committing all the
resources of the United States of America to defeating aviation, so
help us God."
"That's just stupid," I said. If I'd ever been afraid of this
Time Traveler, I wasn't now. He was obviously a mental
defective."The planes, the Japanese planes," I said, "were just a
method of attack . . . a means . . . it wasn't aviation that attacked
us at Pearl Harbor, but the Empire of Japan. We declared war on Japan
and a few days later its ally, Germany, lived up to its treaty with the
Japanese and declared war on us. If we'd declared war on aviation, on
goddamned airplanes rather than the empire and ideology that launched
them, we'd never have . . ."
I stopped. What had he called it? Category Error. Making the problem
unsolvable through your inability - or fear - of defining it
The Time Traveler was smiling at me from the shadows. It was a small,
thin, cold smile - holding no humor in it, I was sure -- but still a
smile of sorts. It seemed more sad than gloating as my sudden silence
"What do you know about Syracuse?" he asked suddenly.
I blinked again. "Syracuse, New York?" I said at last.
He shook his head slowly. "Thucydides' Syracuse," he said softly.
"Syracuse circa 415 B.C. The Syracuse Athens invaded."
"It was . . . part of the Peloponnesian War," I ventured.
He waited for more but I had no more to give. I loved history, but
let's admit it . . . that was ancient history. Still, I felt that I
should have been able to tell him,or at least remember, why Syracuse
was important in the Peloponnesian War or why they fought there or who
fought exactly or who had won or . . . something. I hated feeling like
a dull student around this scarred old man.
"The war between Athens and its allies and Sparta and its allies -
a war for nothing less than hegemony over the entire known world at
that time - began in 431 B.C.," said the Time Traveler. "After
seventeen years of almost constant fighting, with no clear or permanent
advantage for either side, Athens - under the leadership of
Alcibiades at the time - decided to widen the war by conquering
Sicily, the 'Great Greece' they called it, an area full of colonies
and the key to maritime commerce at the time the way the Strait of
Hormuz in the Persian Gulf is today."
I hate being lectured to at the best of times, but something about the
tone and timber of the Time Traveler's voice - soft, deep, rasping,
perhaps thickened a bit by the whiskey - made this sound more like a
story being told around a campfire. Or perhaps a bit like one of
Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon stories on "Prairie Home
Companion." I settled deeper into my chair and listened.
"Syracuse wasn't a direct enemy of the Athenians," continued the
Time Traveler, "but it was quarreling with a local Athenian colony
and the democracy of Athens used that as an excuse to launch a major
expedition against it. It was a big deal - Athens sent 136 triremes,
the best fighting ships in the world then - and landed 5,000 soldiers
right under the city's walls.
"The Athenians had enjoyed so much military success in recent years,
including their invasion of Melos, that Thucydides wrote - So
thoroughly had the present prosperity persuaded the Athenians that
nothing could withstand them, and that they could achieve what was
possible and what was impracticable alike, with means ample or
inadequate it mattered not. The reason for this was their general
extraordinary success, which made them confuse their strengths with
"Oh, hell," I said, "this is going to be a lecture about Iraq,
isn't it? Look . . . I voted for John Kerry last year and . . ."
"Listen to me," the Time Traveler said softly. It was not a
request. There was steel in that soft, rasping voice. "Nicias, the
Athenian general who ended up leading the invasion, warned against it
in 415 B.C. He said - 'We must not disguise from ourselves that we
go to found a city among strangers and enemies, and that he who
undertakes such an enterprise should be prepared to become master of
the country the first day he lands, or failing in this to find
everything hostile to him'. Nicias, along with the Athenian poet and
general Demosthenes, would see their armies destroyed at Syracuse and
then they would both be captured and put to death by the Syracusans.
Sparta won big in that two-year debacle for Athens. The war went on for
seven more years, but Athens never recovered from that overreaching at
Syracuse, and in the end . . . Sparta destroyed it. Conquered the
Athenian empire and its allies, destroyed Athens' democracy, ruined
the entire balance of power and Greek hegemony over the known world at
the time . . . ruined everything. All because of a miscalculation about
I sighed. I was sick of Iraq. Everyone was sick of Iraq on New Years
Eve, 2005, both Bush supporters and Bush haters. It was just an ugly
mess. "They just had an election," I said. "The Iraqi people.
They dipped their fingers in purple ink and . . ."
"Yes yes," interrupted the Time Traveler as if recalling something
further back in time, and much less important, than Athens versus
Syracuse. "The free elections. Purple fingers. Democracy in the
Mid-East. The Palestinians are voting as well. You will see in the
coming year what will become of all that."
The Time Traveler drank some Scotch, closed his eyes for a second, and
said, "Sun Tzu writes - The side that knows when to fight and when
not to will take the victory. There are roadways not to be traveled,
armies not to be attacked, walled cities not to be assaulted."
"All right, goddammit," I said irritably. "Your point's made.
So we shouldn't have invaded Iraq in this . . . what did you call it?
This Long War with Islam, this Century War. We're all beginning to
realize that here by the end of 2005."
The Time Traveler shook his head. "You've understood nothing I've
said. Nothing. Athens failed in Syracuse - and doomed their democracy
- not because they fought in the wrong place and at the wrong time,
but because they weren't ruthless enough. They had grown soft since
their slaughter of every combat-age man and boy on the island of Melos,
the enslavement of every woman and girl there. The democratic
Athenians, in regards to Syracuse, thought that once engaged they could
win without absolute commitment to winning, claim victory without being
as ruthless and merciless as their Spartan and Syracusan enemies. The
Athenians, once defeat loomed, turned against their own generals and
political leaders - and their official soothsayers. If General Nicias
or Demosthenes had survived their captivity and returned home, the
people who sent them off with parades and strewn flower petals in their
path would have ripped them limb from limb. They blamed their own
leaders like a sun-maddened dog ripping and chewing at its own
I thought about this. I had no idea what the hell he was saying or how
it related to the future.
"You came back in time to lecture me about Thucydides?" I said.
"Athens? Syracuse? Sun-Tzu? No offense, Mr. Time Traveler, but who
gives a damn?"
The Time Traveler rose so quickly that I flinched back in my chair, but
he only refilled his Scotch. This time he refilled my glass as well.
"You probably should give a damn" he said softly. " In 2006,
you'll be ripping and tearing at yourselves so fiercely that your
nation - the only one on Earth actually fighting against resurgent
caliphate Islam in this long struggle over the very future of
civilization - will become so preoccupied with criticizing yourselves
and trying to gain short-term political advantage, that you'll all
forget that there's actually a war for your survival going on.
Twenty-five years from now, every man or woman in America who wishes to
vote will be required to read Thucydides on this matter. And others as
well. And there are tests. If you don't know some history, you
don't vote . . . much less run for office. America's vacation from
knowing history ends very soon now . . . for you, I mean. And for those
few others left alive in the world who are allowed to vote."
"You're shitting me," I said.
"I am shitting you not," said the Time Traveler.
"Those few others left alive who are allowed to vote?" I said, the
words just now striking me like hardthrown stones. "What the hell are
you talking about? Has our government taken away all our civil
liberties in this awful future of yours?"
He laughed then and this time it was a deep, hearty, truly amused
laugh. "Oh, yes," he said when the laughter abated a bit. He
actually wiped away tears from his one good eye. "I had almost
forgotten about your fears of your, our . . . civil liberties . . .
being abridged by our own government back in these last
stupidity-allowed years of 2005 and 2006 and 2007 . Where exactly do
you see this repression coming from?"
"Well . . ." I said. I hate it when I start a sentence with
'well,' especially in an argument. "Well, the Patriot Act. Bush
authorizing spying on Americans . . . international phonecalls and
such. Uh . . . I think mosques in the States are under FBI
surveillance. I mean, they want to look up what library books we're
reading, for God's sake. Big Brother. 1984. You know."
The Time Traveler laughed again, but with more edge this time. "Yes,
I know," he said. "We all know . . . up there in the future which
some of you will survive to see as free people. Civil liberties. In
2006 you still fear yourselves and your own institutions first, out of
old habit. A not unworthy - if fatally misguided and terminally
masochistic - paranoia. I will tell you right now, and this is not a
prediction but a history lesson, some of your grandchildren will live
"Zimmi . . . what?" I said.
He spelled it out. What had sounded like a 'z' was the 'dh.'
I'd never heard the word and I told him so.
"Then get off your ass and Google it," said the Time Traveler, his
one working eye glinting with something like fury. "Dhimmitude. You
can also look up the word dhimmi, because that's what two of your
three grandchildren will be called. Dhimmis. Dhimmitude is the system
of separate and subordinate laws and rules they will live under. Look
up the word sharia while you're Googling dhimmi, because that is the
only law they will answer to as dhimmis, the only justice they can hope
for . . . they and tens and hundreds of millions more now who are
worried in your time about invisible abridgements of their 'civil
liberties' by their 'oppressive' American and European
democratically elected governments."
He audibly sneered this last part. I wondered now if the fury I sensed
in him was a result of his madness, or if the reverse were true.
"Where will my grandchildren suffer this dhimmitude?" I asked. My
mouth was suddenly so dry I could barely speak.
"Eurabia," said the Time Traveler.
"There's no such place," I said.
He gave me his one-eyed stare. My stomach suddenly lurched and I wished
I'd drunk no Scotch. "Words," I said.
The Time Traveler raised one scar-slashed eyebrow.
"Last year you gave me words about 2005," I said. "The kind of
words Ken Grimwood's replayers in time would have put in the
newspaper to find each other. Give me more now. Or, better yet, just
fucking tell me what you're talking about. You said it wouldn't
matter. You said that my knowing won't change anything, any more than
I can change the direction the Mississippi is flowing . So tell me, God
He began by giving me words. Even while I was scribbling them down, I
was thinking of reading I'd been doing recently about the joy with
which the Victorian Englishmen and 19th Century Europeans and Americans
greeted the arrival of the 20th Century. The toasts, especially among
the intellectual elite, on New Year's Eve 1899 had been about the
coming glories of technology liberating them, of the imminent Second
Enlightenment in human understanding, of the certainty of a just
one-world government, of the end of war for all time.
Instead, what words would a time traveler or poor Replay victim put in
his London Times or Berliner Zeitung or New York Times on January 1,
1900, to find his fellow travelers displaced in time? Auschwitz, I was
sure, and Hiroshima and Trinity Site and Holocaust and Hitler and
Stalin and . . .
The clock in my study chimed midnight.
Jesus God. Did I want to hear such words about 2006 and the rest of the
21st Century from the Time Traveler?
"Ahmadenijad," he said softly. "Natanz. Arak. Bushehr. Ishafan.
"Those words don't mean a damned thing to me," I said as I
scribbled them down phonetically. "Where are they? What are they?"
"You'll know soon enough," said the Time Traveler.
"Are you talking about . . . what? . . . the next fifteen or twenty
years?" I said.
"I'm talking about the next fifteen or twenty months from your
now," he said softly. "Do you want more words?"
I didn't. But I couldn't speak just then.
"General Seyed Reza Pardis," intoned the Time Traveler.
"Shehab-one, Shehab-two, Shehab-three. Tel Aviv. Baghdad
International Airport, Al Salem U.S. airbase in Kuwait, Camp Dawhah
U.S. Army base in Kuwait, al Seeb U.S. airbase in Oman, al Udeid U.S.
Army and Air Force base in Qatar. Haifa. Beir-Shiva. Dimona."
"Oh, fuck," I said. "Oh, Jesus." I had no clue as to who or
what Shehab One, Two, or Three might be, but the context and litany
alone made me want to throw up.
"This is just the beginning," said the Time Traveler.
"Wasn't the beginning on September 11, 2001?" I managed through
The one-eyed scarred man shook his head. "Historians in my time know
that it began on June 5, 1968," he said. "But it hasn't really
begun for you yet. For any of you."
I thought - What on earth happened on the fifth of June, 1968? I'm
old enough to remember. I was in college then. Working that summer and
. . . Kennedy. Robert F. Kennedy's assassination. "Now on to
Chicago and the nomination!" Sirhan Sirhan. Was the Time Traveler
trying to give me some kind of half-assed Oliver-Stone-JFK-movie
garbled up conspiracy theory?
"What . . ." I began.
"Galveston," interrupted the Time Traveler. "The Space Needle.
Bank of America Plaza in Dallas. Renaissance Tower in Dallas. Bank One
Center in Dallas. The Indianapolis 500 - one hour and twenty-three
minutes into the race. The Bell South Building in Atlanta. The
TransAmerica Pyramid in San Francisco . . ."
"Stop," I said. "Just stop."
"The Golden Gate Bridge," persisted the Time Traveler. "The
Guggenheim in Bilbao. The New Reichstag in Berlin. Albert Hall. Saint
Paul's Cathedral . . ."
"Shut the fuck up!" I shouted. "All these places can't
disappear in the rest of this century, your goddamned Century War or
not! I don't believe it."
"I didn't say in the rest of your century," said the Time
Traveler, his torn voice almost a whisper now. "I'm talking about
your next fifteen years. And I've barely begun."
"You're nuts," I said. "You're not from the future. You
escaped from some asylum."
The Time Traveler nodded. "That's more true than you know," he
said. "I come from a place and time where your grandchildren and
hundreds of millions of other dhimmi are compelled to write 'pbuh'
after the Prophet's name. They wear gold crosses and gold Stars of
David sewn onto their clothing. The Nazis didn't invent the wearing
of the Star of David . . . the marking and setting apart of the Jews in
society. Muslims did that centuries ago in they lands they conquered,
European and otherwise. They will refine it and update it, not toward
the more merciful, in the lands they occupy through the decades ahead
"You're crazy," I cried, standing. My hands were balled into
fists. "Islam is a religion . . . a religion of peace . . . not our
enemy. We can't be at war with a religion. That's obscene."
"Have you read the Qur'an and learned your Sunnah?" asked the
Time Traveler. "It would behoove you to do so. Dhimmi means
'protection.' And your children and grandchildren will be protected
. . . like cattle."
"To hell with you," I said.
"Your dhimmi poll tax will be called jizya," said the Time
Traveler. His voice suddenly sounded very weary."Your land tax for
being an infidel, even for fellow People of the Book - Christians and
Jews - will be called kharaz. Both of these taxes will be in addition
to your mandatory alms - the zakat. The punishment for failure to
pay, or for paying late, a punishment meted out by your local qadi,
religious judge, is death by stoning or beheading."
I folded my arms and looked away from the Time Traveler.
"Under sharia - which will be the universal law of Eurabia,"
persisted the Time Traveler, "the value of a dhimmi's life, the
value of your grandchildren, is one half the value of a Muslim's
life. Jews and Christians are worth one-third of a Muslim. Indian
Parsees are worth one-fifteenth. In a court of the Eurabian Caliphate
or the Global Khalifate, if a Muslim murders a dhimmi, any infidel, he
must pay a blood money fine not to exceed one thousand euros. No Muslim
will ever be jailed or sentenced to death for the murder of any dhimmi
or any number of dhimmis. If the murders were done under the auspices
of Universal Compulsive Jihad, which will be sanctioned by sharia as of
2019 Common Era, all blood money fines are waived."
"Go away," I said. "Go back to wherever you came from."
"I come from here," said the Time Traveler. "From not so far from
"Bullshit," I said.
"Your enemies have gathered and struck and continue to strike and
you, the innocents of 2006 and beyond, fight among yourselves, chew and
rip at your own bellies, blame your brothers and yourselves and your
institutions of the Enlightenment - law, tolerance, science,
democracy - even while your enemies grow stronger."
"How are we supposed to know who our enemies are?" I turned and
growled at him. "The world is a complex place. Morality is a complex
"Your enemy is he who will give his life to kill you," said the
Time Traveler. "Your enemies are they that wish you and your children
and your grandchildren dead and who are willing to sacrifice
themselves, or support those fanatics who will sacrifice themselves, to
see you and your institutions destroyed. You haven't figured that out
yet - the majority of you fat, sleeping, smug, infinitely stupid
Americans and Europeans."
He stood and set the Scotch glass back in its place on my sideboard.
"How, we wonder in my time," he said softly, "can you ignore the
better part of a billion people who say aloud that they are willing to
kill your children . . . or condone and celebrate the killing of them?
And ignore them as they act on what they say? We do not understand
I still had not turned to face him, but was looking over my shoulder at
"The world, as it turns out," continued the Time Traveler, "is
not nearly so complex a place as your liberal and gentle minds sought
to make it."
I did not respond.
"Thucydides taught us more than twenty-four hundred years ago -
counting back from your time - that all men's behavior is guided by
phobos, kerdos, and doxa," said the Time Traveler. "Fear,
self-interest, and honor."
I pretended I did not hear.
"Plato saw human behavior as a chariot pulled by precisely those
three powerful and headstrong horses, first tugged this way, then
pulled that way," continued the Time Traveler. "Phobos, kerdos,
doxa. Fear, self-interest, honor. Which of these guides the chariot of
your nation and your allies in Europe and your surprisingly fragile
civilization now, O Man of 2006?"
I stared at the bookcase instead of the man and willed him gone,
wishing him away like a sleepy boy willing away the boogeyman under his
"Which combination of those three traits -- phobos, kerdos, doxa --
will save or doom your world?" asked the Time Traveler. "Which
might bring you back from this vacation from history - from
history's responsibilities and history's burdens - that you have
all so generously gifted yourselves with? You peaceloving Europeans.
You civil-liberties loving Americans? You Athenian invertebrates with
your love of your own exalted sensibilities and your willingness to
enter into a global war for civilizational survival even while you are
too timid, too fearful . . . too decent . . . to match the ruthlessness
of your enemies."
I closed my eyes but that did not stop his voice.
"At least understand that such decency goes away quickly when you are
burying your children and your grandchildren," rasped the Time
Traveler. "Or watching them suffer in slavery. Ruthlessness deferred
against totalitarian aggression only makes the later need for
ruthlessness more terrible. Thousands of years of history and war
should have taught you that. Did you fools learning nothing from living
through the charnel house that was the 20th Century?"
I'd had enough. I opened my eyes, turned, reached into the top left
drawer of my desk, and pulled out the .38 revolver that I had owned for
twenty-three years and fired only twice, at firing ranges, shortly
after it was given to me as a gift.
I aimed it at the Time Traveler. "Get out," I said.
He showed no reaction. "Do you want more than words?" he asked
softly. "I will give you more than words. I give you eight million
Jews dead in Israel - incinerated - and many more dead Jews in
Eurabia and around the world. I give you the continent of Europe cast
back more than five hundred years into sad pools of warring
"Get out," I repeated, aiming the revolver higher.
"I give you an Asian world in chaos, a Pacific rim ruled by China
after the vacuum of America's withdrawal - this nation's full
resources devoted to fighting, and possibly losing, the Century War -
a South America and Mexico lost to corruption and appeasement, a
resurgent Russian Empire that has reclaimed its old dominated republics
and more, and a Canada split into three hateful nations."
I cocked the pistol. The click sounded very loud in the small room.
"We were speaking about ruthlessness," said the Time Traveler.
"If you fail to understand it at first, you learn it quickly enough
in a war like the one you are allowing to come. Would you like to hear
the litany of Islamic shrines and cities that will blossom in nuclear
retaliatory fire in the decades to come?"
"Get out," I said for a final time. "I'm ruthless enough to
shoot you, and by God I will if you don't get out of here."
The Time Traveler nodded. "As you wish. But you should hear two last
words, two last names . . .religious judge Ubar ibn al-Khattab and
rector-imam Ismail Nawahda of New Al-Azhar University in London, part
of the 200,000-man Golden Mosque of the New Islamic Khalifate in
"What are those names to me or me to them?" I asked. My finger was
on the trigger of the cocked .38.
"These religious officials were on the Islamic Tribunal that
sentenced two dhimmis to death by stoning and beheading," said the
Time Traveler. "The dhimmis were your two grandsons, Thomas and
"What was . . . will be . . . their crime?" I was able to ask after
a long minute. My tongue felt like a strip of rough cotton.
"They dated two Muslim women - Thomas while he was in London on
business, Daniel while visiting his aging mother, your daughter, in
Canada - without first converting to Islam. That part of sharia,
Islamic law, is called hudud, and we know quite a bit about it in my
time. Your grandsons didn't know the young women were Muslim since
they both were dressed in modern garb - -thus violating their own
society's ironclad rule of Hijab - modesty. The girls, I hear, also
died, but those were not sharia sentences. Not hudud. Their brothers
and fathers murdered them. Honor killings . . . I think you've
already heard the phrase by 2006."
If I were to shoot him, I had to do it now. My hand was shaking more
fiercely every second.
"Of course, the odds against one sharia court in London sentencing
both your grandsons to death for crimes committed as far apart as
London and Quebec City is too much of a coincidence to believe in,"
continued the Time Traveler. "As is the fact that they would both be
introduced to Muslim girls, without knowing they were Muslim, and go on
a single dinner date with them at the same time, in cities so far
apart. And Thomas was married. I know he thought he was having a
business dinner with a client."
"What . . ." I began, my arm holding the pistol shaking as if
The Time Traveler laughed a final time. "All of your grandsons'
names were on lists. You wrote something . . . will soon write
something . . . that will put your name, and all your descendents'
names, on their list. Including your only surviving grandson."
I opened my mouth but did not speak.
"According to their own writings, which we all know well in my
day," continued the Time Traveler, " 'Hadith Malik 511:1588 The
last statement that Muhammad made was: "O Lord, perish the Jews and
Christians. They made churches of the graves of their prophets. There
shall be no two faiths in Arabia.' And there are not. All infidels
- Christians, Jews, secularists -- have been executed, converted, or
driven out. Israel is cinders. Eurabia and the New Khalifate is
growing, absorbing what was left of the old, weak cultures there that
once dreamt of a European Union. The Century War is not near over. Two
of your three grandsons are now dead. Your remaining grandson still
fights, as does one of your surviving granddaughters. Two of your three
living granddaughters now live under sharia within the aegis of New
Khalifate. They are women of the veil."
I lowered the pistol.
" Enjoy these last days and months and years of your slumber,
Grandfather," said the scarred old man. "Your wake-up call is
The Time Traveler said three last words and was gone.
I put the pistol away - realizing too late that it had never been
loaded - and sat down to write this. I could not. I waited these
three months to try again.
Oh, Lord, I wish that some person on business from Porlock would wake
me from this dream.
It was not the horrors of his revelations about my grandchildren that
had shaken me the most deeply, shaken me to the core of my core, but
rather the the Time Traveler's last three words. Three words that any
Replayer or time traveler visiting here from a century or more from now
would react to first and most emotionally - three words I will not
share here in this piece nor ever plan to share, at least until
everyone on Earth knows them - three words that will keep me awake
nights for months and years to come.
Sincerely, Dan Simmons
(Note: Books commented on in this essay include - The Peloponnesian
War by Donald Kagan, The Book of War: 25 Centuries of Great War Writing
edited by John Keegan, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is
Destroying the West from Within by Bruce Bawer, The Clash of
Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order by Samuel P.
Huntington, Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History by
Lee Harris, The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of
History by Philip Bobbit, and Replay by Ken Grimwood.)
That, and we have to be ruthless about it.
Slaughter the innocents! Bring on the
mushroom clouds, yeah!
Creator and Author,
Daystrom Institute Technical Library
>"I mean the Long War with Islam," he said. "The Century War. And
>it's not over yet where I come from. Not close to being over."
That's where he made his mistake: the war should have been against
religion itself, not just Islam.
"O Sybilli, si ergo
Fortibus es in ero
O Nobili! Themis trux
Sivat sinem? Causen Dux"
He doesn't have much understanding of anything, from his track
Stuff that Heinlein did better.
Nobody listened to him, either...
Mark L. Fergerson
>On Sat, 29 Apr 2006 15:19:59 GMT, "Mike Schilling"
>>"Sound of Trumpet" <soundof...@hoshmail.com> wrote in message
>>Do you have any understanding of copyright?
>He doesn't have much understanding of anything, from his track
Surely: "He doesn't have much understanding of anything, from his
"Do unto others as you would have then do unto you".
- attrib: Pauline Réage.
>On the auspictious date of Sat, 29 Apr 2006 12:43:18 -0400, raven1
>said unto the multitude in message-id
>>On Sat, 29 Apr 2006 15:19:59 GMT, "Mike Schilling"
>>>"Sound of Trumpet" <soundof...@hoshmail.com> wrote in message
>>>Do you have any understanding of copyright?
>>He doesn't have much understanding of anything, from his track
>Surely: "He doesn't have much understanding of anything, from his
They so concern themselves with intellectual-masturbatory concepts
like "racism" while the enemy builds pyramids out of servered heads.
I rather liked this story.
I'd like to hear the story of the pyramids built out of severed heads.
Where and when did that occur exactly?
> A Warning From Time Traveller
Um hm. Can you see the "time traveller" now? Does the "time traveller" try
to get you to do things you don't want to do?
Mark K. Bilbo
"Corps chief admits to 'design failure'"
(Took them long enough)
"As hip as it is for outsiders to blame New Orleans
for everything bad that happened during and after
Hurricane Katrina, the truth is that the people
who lived here were much more prepared for a big
storm than the federal government that promised
us flood protection."
"Everything New Orleans"
> If you read down far enough you'll find that the message of _this_ piece
> is the good old war of civilizations: we must fight the Muslims to the
Ah yes, as Jesus commanded, "go forth unto all the world and exterminate
Both you and the author missed the boat on the real issue: the enemy
isn't Islam, it's religion in general.
Absolutely: Observe all those Christians blowing
themselves up in pizza parlors and burning embassies
when the government sponsored "piss christ"
James A. Donald
> If you read down far enough you'll find that the message of _this_ piece
> is the good old war of civilizations: we must fight the Muslims to the
> death. Sound of Trumpet is a real piece of work: militarism, fascism,
> racism, sexism, and religious bigotry, all in one convenient package,
> spamming your newsgroup in the name of God.
I see SoT is finally admitting his god is impotent, powerless, cannot
protect anybody and, so, human, military action is his only hope of
Yup. But you know what? He can actually write, unlike the
zillions of other spammers we've seen in the last couple of
weeks. Alas, poor Yorick.
Dorothy J. Heydt
Oh, do you mean it was written by someone else? By whom?
>"O Sybilli, si ergo
>Fortibus es in ero
>O Nobili! Themis trux
>Sivat sinem? Causen Dux"
Malo malo malo malo.
That was the custom of Timur-i-Leng whenever he conquered a city,
IIRC, and the idea was to decapitate every inhabitant, whether
living in dead in appearance, so as to be sure nobody could
escape by playing possum.
Christianity is simply too weak nowadays to murder
with as much impudence as it once did. It's strange
how religion only learns in its weakness how to
coexist with civilization.
That's why we must make it won't ever become strong
again. We remember the burning of witches. We
remember the smashing of temples. We haven't
forgotten the Inquisition. We remember Hypatia.
Good lord, you don't think he wrote this himself do you?
He's copied it from somewhere.
So, not current then.
>In article <1146320055....@u72g2000cwu.googlegroups.com>,
> <anarc...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>If you read down far enough you'll find that the message
>>of _this_ piece is the good old war of civilizations: we must
>>fight the Muslims to the death. Sound of Trumpet is a real
>>piece of work: militarism, fascism, racism, sexism, and
>>religious bigotry, all in one convenient package, spamming
>>your newsgroup in the name of God.
>Yup. But you know what? He can actually write,
He doesn't write anything. He just copies and posts.
> In article <8s5752tarh5o3s5ln...@4ax.com>, raven1
> <quotht...@nevermore.com> wrote:
>>On Sat, 29 Apr 2006 15:19:59 GMT, "Mike Schilling"
>>>"Sound of Trumpet" <soundof...@hoshmail.com> wrote in message
>>>Do you have any understanding of copyright?
>>He doesn't have much understanding of anything, from his track record...
> Oh, do you mean it was written by someone else?
Everything SoT posts is plagiarized.
> By whom?
Nope. Everything he posts is plagiarized. He breaks federal copyright law
several times a day (in order to lecture people on being "moral").
Aris Katsaris wrote:
> Christianity is simply too weak nowadays to murder
> with as much impudence as it once did.
Surely Christianity in America is far stronger than
Islam in Britain or France, but Paris burns, and
Washington does not.
James A. Donald
> James A. Donald:
>> > Observe all those Christians blowing themselves up in pizza parlors
>> > and burning embassies when the government sponsored "piss christ" :-)
> Aris Katsaris wrote:
>> Christianity is simply too weak nowadays to murder with as much
>> impudence as it once did.
> Surely Christianity in America is far stronger than Islam in Britain or
> France, but Paris burns, and Washington does not.
Wait until the dollar takes a nosedive...
I liked it better when it was the Yellow Peril and Fu Manchu, with
their filthy eastern ways. But I suppose I'm dating myself. Which I
guess is okay, since I'm not dating anyone else.
Current Story: "The Farouche Assemblage" Postscripts #6
Next Story: "The Meaning of Luff" F&SF July
Next Book: "Majestrum" (A Henghis Hapthorn novel), Night Shade Books,
I thought the left was "unhinged" and "dangerous."
> They so concern themselves with intellectual-masturbatory concepts
> like "racism" while the enemy builds pyramids out of servered heads.
The enemy? You mean religious zealots?
* DanielSan -- alt.atheism #2226 *
* "You can safely assume that you've created God in *
* your own image when it turns out that God hates *
* all the same people you do." --Anne Lamott *
Ah. And is Simmons of a similar frame of mind? Or did his story
get distorted to suit the spammer's agenda?
Interesting. From where, and more to the point, from whom?
From Dan Simmons; it starts with the URL on Simmons's website that he
filched it from.
> Sound of Trumpet wrote:
> Stuff that Heinlein did better.
> Nobody listened to him, either...
> Mark L. Fergerson
Heinlein told us to exterminate Islam?
William December Starr <wds...@panix.com>
There was a graphic novel, Thor - Vikings. Had a pyramid of skulls in
Manhatten. Interesting book, Have no idea how they would ever squeeze it
into regular marvel continuity.
Aris Katsaris wrote:
> > > Christianity is simply too weak nowadays to murder
> > > with as much impudence as it once did.
James A. Donald:
> > Surely Christianity in America is far stronger than
> > Islam in Britain or France, but Paris burns, and
> > Washington does not.
In all of two thousand years of history, and all of
planet earth, when has a Christian mob burnt an embassy
over religious issues?
The founder of Christianity died for his beliefs. The
founder of Islam murdered for his beliefs.
James A. Donald
Ahhh.. So THAT was the point of the story..
'Fraid I never made it that far.. Got bored midway..
'Sides, it's SOT.. Not worth braving anyway..
>>Sound of Trumpet wrote:
>> Stuff that Heinlein did better.
>> Nobody listened to him, either...
> Heinlein told us to exterminate Islam?
No, he didn't. He told us to be ready to kick ass without reservation
individually and collectively _when appropriate_, which is to say
_after_ diplomacy fails. He was more of a believer in Sun Tzu than in
Von Clausewitz; his ideal was to reduce the enemy's capacity to make war
(or fake them out of starting it in the first place) so you can reason
with them, not exterminate them so you don't have to.
DO NOT think for a moment that I agree in particular or in general
with SoT, even though he got one point right. Heinlein recommended
maintaining readiness for any contingency and the willingness to follow
through no matter how messy it gets except he included dealing with the
aftermath of war, not the jingoistic working up of bloodlust in support
of some religious ideal demonstrated by SoT.
Heinlein also did not believe in "perfect enemies", those who will
never give up their enmity. His writing shows that, but most younger
people believe the perfectly horrid movie made of _Starship Troopers_
exemplifies his thinking. There are times I think Verhoeven made the
movie the way he did deliberately so that people wouldn't bother with
actually reading Heinlein.
Bottom line, Heinlein had a conscience; SoT doesn't seem to.
Mark L. Fergerson
>>If you read down far enough you'll find that the message of _this_ piece
>>is the good old war of civilizations: we must fight the Muslims to the
>>death. Sound of Trumpet is a real piece of work: militarism, fascism,
>>racism, sexism, and religious bigotry, all in one convenient package,
>>spamming your newsgroup in the name of God.
> I see SoT is finally admitting his god is impotent, powerless, cannot
> protect anybody and, so, human, military action is his only hope of
Aaand... that makes _his_ god different from all the others how, exactly?
Mark L. Fergerson
The problem here was in the first descriptive passage. There is only
one true Time Traveller, and he has to date had ten faces. None of them
looked like this guy. The best one was a tall man with curly hair, a
hat, and a multi-coloured scarf. The last one had a buzz-cut, big
stick-out ears and a leather jacket. The new one has a pinstripe suit,
is quite young (looking) and sometimes wears glasses. He is often
accompanied by scantily clad women who scream a lot. The true Time
Traveller travels in a sort of a phone booth, is rather a pacifist, and
certainly would never spout things like SoD's post.
>On 29 Apr 2006 11:41:15 -0700, FED UP wrote:
>> And we hear from exactly the Leftist weakling types that Simmons
>> They so concern themselves with intellectual-masturbatory concepts
>> like "racism" while the enemy builds pyramids out of servered heads.
>> I rather liked this story.
>I'd like to hear the story of the pyramids built out of severed heads.
>Where and when did that occur exactly?
He's confusing muslims and mongols.