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Circles of Displacement
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-362-X
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 200 Pages
Published: June 2006
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

A stellar accident has thrown hundreds of small circular areas of East Texas far into the past. The displacement circles include such random spots as a roadside park, a Wal-Mart Superstore, the streets of a small town -- and the death row section of the state prison.

Individuals and groups gradually find one another while coping with an unknown wilderness, and the murderous convicts who are intent on enslaving everyone they can find, especially women and blacks.

Eventually, the convict-led forces will battle for control of the new world against a random assortment of people led by an erstwhile physicist, who has found a new love in a woman formerly in the military. But in order to have a chance against the ruthless former convicts, she must pretend to be captured in order to create havoc behind the lines.

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Prologue

The great ship entered the spiral arm of yet another galaxy. Only the beings in the control room were aware of trouble and they were terrified. It was theoretically possible for the time stress fields of the huge ship to get out of balance, but an actual occurrence was a rarity, something that had not happened for generations. The Engineer Commander’s stalks sprang erect as wrongly colored patterns erupted inside its left forebrain, the engineer side, demanding immediate action. There was little time to spare, yet the Engineer Commander was forced to call on ancestral memory from one of its hindbrains in order to assess the problem. By the time a solution became apparent, it was almost too late. It did the only thing possible. It ordered the ship to cease its headlong flight in one violent maneuver, hoping the excess energy would discharge in one compact mass rather than leak backward into the ship and cause its utter destruction.

It worked, just barely. A globe of weirdly tortured space-time formed around the laboring stress fields, a darker black than the space surrounding it. The globe hovered, wobbling in place with the unbalanced fields like a dancer about to lose balance. The ship shuddered all through its mile long length, as if shivering in fear at impending destruction, then at the last possible second, tore loose from the newly formed mass of energized time, instantaneously imparting an equalizing velocity to it in the opposite direction. The ship continued on its way, slower now, but no longer threatened. It would never pass that way again, nor would its commander ever know or care about what happened to the energy it had lost.

The stark globe of space-time shot away in the opposite direction. It was more coherent than a laser beam, but even as laser light slowly attenuates over distance, so did this different form of energy. It spread, becoming miles wide in extent. The inherent energy, unable to maintain a single point of concentration, threw off smaller globes in a radiating circle, while its center gradually grew smaller. Where the globes of energy passed, hydrogen atoms and rare intrastellar molecules of cyanide compounds and other esoteric deep space molecules were thrown far back in time and replaced by other space and matter from that era in an almost imperceptible cone from it’s point of origin, with the displacement in time gradually lessening as the attenuation grew. Given enough distance, the time energy would have lost all coherence, dissipating harmlessly over vast stellar distances. A few molecules displaced here and there would have made no difference whatever in the larger scheme of the universe. In fact, even when the globes impacted on a planet, the universe would go on in much the same fashion as it had for the last fifteen billion years. Such things had happened before. They would happen again.

The second circle of smaller segments of distorted time spread from the center as the globes of terribly wrong energy approached earth, then a third and fourth budded off, with more following, each growing progressively smaller as it broke from its parent. Now the separate pieces were spread over dozens of miles from the still intact, though much smaller center portion. More than two thousand of the small globes of space-time struck the atmosphere, displacing molecules of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and lesser elements, but they slowed down hardly at all. Only a large mass could accomplish that, and the sleeping East Texas countryside served adequately. In a circle with a radius measuring scores of miles, in a pattern affecting the mass they encountered, pure chance decreed who and what was affected. In places, circles of woods, brush and pasture hundreds of yards in diameter suddenly disappeared in claps of thunder and ozone and reappeared far back in time, simultaneously sending comparable areas from there into the future. Animals in the affected zones, unable to understand the changed circumstances, blinked and attempted to carry on their lives as before. Some succeeded; some did not. For humans caught in the time storms and thrown back to the Pleistocene era, it was a different matter. They could reason and wonder and become fearful or joyful, as circumstances dictated. In many cases, it depended on where they were when the displacements occurred. It all cases where humans were caught, they believed that they were the only ones affected. At first, that is. Eventually, many of them would make contact with inhabitants of other displaced areas. Sometimes they wished they hadn?t.


Circles of Displacement (Excerpt)