Carol McCullough is a physicist who conducted research on Dr. Sara Baxter Clarke, a physicist who disappeared in 1955, presumed drowned after driving off a cliff. It is understood that Clarke was researching time travel at the time of her death. McCullough receives an unexpected opportunity to travel back in time to meet Clarke, with the express purpose of obtaining Clarke’s complete research so that the problem of time travel can be solved.
Oh, if only life were that simple, eh? McCullough successfully travels back in time, and meets Clarke. We are not told how. We know that she is placed in a room and everyone else leaves. We also know that there is only enough energy (the energy consumption required being extraordinarily great) for one trip back and one forward – to send and retrieve McCullough. This was intriguing. But then to top it off, there’s the human element. Firstly, McCullough finds it very difficult to outright request the research. There’s something about asking that of an idol. And then, perhaps more to the point, McCullough discovers that Clarke, like herself, is sexually attracted to women, and so begins a relationship between the two women, complicating matters further.
This is a very good story. Klages’s writing is uncluttered and vivid, drawing one in to the world of Clarke and McCullough. Even though short, the reader cares for the characters and wants to see a good outcome to the story – one doesn’t want McCullough to betray Clarke, or Clarke to die.
And I have to say, I adore the title. Lovely touch, and very relevant.