Section: Reactionaries and Revolutionares
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5 Rating
Did you know the telephone is a time-travel device?
About the author:
Rosalyn Love is an Australian writer who has commented on Australian science and society, in both fiction and nonfiction, for the past forty years. She has published two collections of short fiction with The Women’s Press in the United Kingdom: The Total Devotion Machine and Evolution Annie. Her most recent books are Reffscape: Reflections on the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney and Washingotn, and The Traveling Tide, short fiction, with Aqueduct Press, Seatle. She is the recipient of the Chandler Award for lifetime achievement in Australian Science Fiction. “Alexia and Graham Bell” was first published in Aphelion 5 in 1986,
I’m not really sure how to write a review for this story without spoiling it or revealing what I think the message of the story was…
Alexia’s brother Graham has just innovated the telephone. She tell us that while you may it was invented eight years ago, it was actually only invented two months ago.
Alexia is a censor who works at Central Message Control – aside from fear of losing her job, she tries to warm Graham of the social and economical problems that the telephone will cause. Graham does not listen. However, it was the problem with time that neither of them expected to face.
This story is told from Alexia first-person POV, and is only a short, 5 pages. Despite this being a low page count, and a quick read, you will spend a great deal trying to figure out how time-travel works. How it is that Graham innovated the telephone only two-months ago, when every says it has been eighty years.
Normally, I would complain about a story not giving me a direct or any type of answer regarding the mechanics – in Alexia and Graham Bell, however, I am making an exception. For me, the joy of this story was trying to figure out, how in the world, Rosalyn Love was going to explain how a telephone made time-travel possible. This joy I speak of though, did not come to my fruition until the last page or so. Up until then, it a whole mass of confusion try to figure out why Alexia kept complain about what her brother with time when he created the telephone. When I finally did realize what how, it was one of those “Ah-ha! Clever, girl” moments.
(If you are interested in what I believe the time-travel mechanic of Graham’s telephone, highlight and read in the “Spoilerific Speculations” section below. I must warn though, if you do plan on reading this, reading my theory – if correct – with spoil the whole story for you. Remember though, the story is only 5 pages long, and can be read here.
Spolierific Speculations: (Highlight to read)
The invention of the phone made time flyby. Not literally; people weren’t literally traveling in time – but for those who had a phone, time seemed to go by faster than those who did not. It’s like the saying “time travels when you’re having fun”, except time travels, I guess, when you have a phone.
If your comments contains a spoiler, please type “SPOILER:” at the start of your comment to alert fellow readers and comments. Thanks!
Alexia does a have a good voice, and aside from trying to figure out how a dang phone could make me travel in time, her narration of the story and events kept me entertained the whole.
It’s only 5 pages (read here), and if my theory is correct, I think this was a cool story with an interesting message.
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See you next Thursday for A Night on the Barbary Coast by Kage Baker