All the Time in the World

From Clockworks2
Jump to navigationJump to search

Clarke, Arthur C. "All the Time in the World." Startling Stories July 1952. Collected The Other Side of the Sky, which see at internal link, pp. 97-108. For translations and many collections and reprints in anthologies, see Internet Science Fiction Database, as of February 2024, here.[1]


Applying a term from Isaac Asimov's "Social Science Fiction" essay,[2] we'll call "All the Time," in part, "gadget" science fiction, with the gadget an "accelerator" in "personal generator" form looking like a bracelet (pp. 100, 102, 103 in Signet pb). The story is also time-travel fiction (and uses the term "singularity" [Signet p. 10-5]). It is finally, apocalyptic SF.

Relevant here for the image of a man walking through a large city, with a device that effectively nearly freezes time outside him. By Clarke's Third Law[3] this is a kind of magic and an image of technology mediating a kind of sphere of separation from and interaction with the larger world (the man is a thief, being paid very well for a technologically-mediated caper).

Relevant also: the high technology referred to in "A placard" that "formed an impossible curve in the breeze that was blowing through this motionless world." The anti-heroic protagonist "Ashton read the crudely lettered words with difficulty: SUPERBOMB TEST TODAY" (p. 107). That test will trigger — in a sense has already triggered (p. 108) — a local apocalypse, destroying Earth.


RDE, finishing, 13/14Feb24