To upset the stable, mighty stream of time would probably take an enormous concentration of energy. And it's not to be expected that a man would get a second chance at life. But an atomic might accomplish both.
Time and Time Again by Henry Beam Piper is a science fiction short story set in the year 1975 when a soldier, Allan Hartley, falls wounded in World War III. Oh, yes. WWIII occurred in the ’70s. Who would have thunk it? After an atomic explosion during the war, Allan is transported back in time to his home in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Allan wakes up in the year 1945 as a thirteen year old boy without any clue of why he’s still alive. He retains his memory of WWIII. He freaks out for a bit and then confronts his father with the news. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
“I wish I could be sure, myself, Dad,” he said. “You see, when I woke, this morning, I hadn’t the least recollection of anything I’d done yesterday. August 4, 1945, that is,” he specified. “I was positively convinced that I was a man of forty-three, and my last memory was of lying on a stretcher, injured by a bomb explosion. And I was equally convinced that this had happened in 1975.”
As the story progresses, Allan and his father come to an agreement and decide a plan of action. They’re going to change the future and prevent WWIII from happening, or at least find a way to win the war. And that’s where the story ends. Right there. There’s nothing more. The story ends right where you’d expect it just to begin.
Honestly, I was disappointed. The characters are like cardboard cutouts and the dialogue isn’t engaging. The idea of WWIII occurring in the 70s is amusing but the cause of Allan’s travel through time makes little sense. In all, I’m not a fan of Time and Time Again.