Excerpt: If Time Played Tricks by Carlos Suchowolski

NB: Once tiempo del futuroThis story is included in the book “Once Tiempos del Futuro”, that I have already reviewed. You can read it here… sorry, only if you read Spanish.


He sat up in bed, stretched to pick up the paper and pen left on the seat next to it, and wrote:

“My love,

“I don’t know how far I am from you or everyone else. The personal hibernator is the most tremendous commercial success of — this century? I can sleep as long as I want without feeling like I’ve been sleeping. No nightmares, no problems. I get only a few tenths of a second closer to death, and I wake up again in the same place as if nothing happened, although I’m farther away than the last time from everything and everyone who is — alive? sleeping? gone for good?

“There’s still noise outside, behind the drawn window shades. What does it mean? I’m afraid to find out. If I got up and went out on the street right now, I don’t think I’d recognize anyone. No doubt we’ve all gotten older, some more than others. Should we, the traped freaks we have become, accept this by going out and showing ourselves to the others?

“As for you, how are you today? How will you be when you get this letter? How will you have been since the last time you woke up. . .? After how many… ¿years?, ¿instants? Oh, which could be the suitable way to measuring the time now!

“In my mind’s eye, you’re still young, coming through a doorway naked toward the table in the hallway to get a cigarette, and my eyes rest on your thighs. As I remember it, a warm afternoon light fell on them through the slats of the Venetian blinds, and it gave them a rosy glow — and above it, that downy patch of hair promised to become electrified again. . . .

“Is it still like that? It hasn’t changed, has it? Because . . . you use your hibernator, too, you have used it, you are using it, you will use it, won’t you?”


He stopped. Did it make any sense to keep writing a letter, to write at all, no matter what? The only answer seemed to be to go back to sleep. But why? It was probably as senseless as anything else. The outside world might have become an insufferable nightmare. If he went back to sleep and woke up later, wouldn’t he feel just as unsafe, maybe even more so? Unexpectedly, he imagined that almost everyone else was sleeping, the whole world had left it all behind again and again like him, almost everyone except for . . . who, and why? . . . Outside, on the street, the hustle and bustle continued: people, cars driving past, voices. Had everyone decided to give up on hibernation, maybe forever, to let the normal passage of time wear them out? Or were they the people who had decided to go out from time to time to see the world and let it see them?

He lay back down. He dropped the pen and paper. He wasn’t the type to commit suicide, which was a shame. But suddenly, remembering a treasured, macabre old idea, a real joke. He connected the machine and, for the destination time, picked the day, month, and year of his own birth, in honor of himself, but any other date in the past would have been just as good. He pulled down the cover of the capsule and heard the hermetic click. It could only open again if reached the destination.
Slowly but surely, he began to fall asleep, and as he did, he managed to ask himself one more question: What if time played a dirty trick on him? What if, against all logic, time went on and on in a complicated circle, and, when it reached the future of the future, it would arrive again at that precise date, and he would wake up once more?

About the author: He was born on 16.01.1948 in Mendoza (Argentina) and moved to Spain in 1976. His first stories were published foto carlosin newspapers on his native city, one of which received an award. In 1988, he was a finalist in the international competition “Concurso Internacional de Ultramar” (Bs. As.) And was included in the anthology “La fragua y otros inventos” (The Forge and other inventions). He published on Artifex, Snergia, Axxon, Químicamente impuro, Miniatura, Planetas Prohibidos, Nuevas Narrativas (Argentina), Umbral (Peru), Il sogno del Minotauro (Italy), Al otro lado del espejo, Lectures d’ailleurs (France)and in other magazines and e-books, being translated into Dutch, Italian, Bulgarian and French. The Science Fiction Spanish Society has included him in their annual anthologies in 2004 and 2007.
Books published
Una Nueva Conciencia (Paperback) https://www.amazon.com/nueva-conciencia-Spanish-Carlos-Suchowolski/dp/149126800X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Once tiempos del futuro (paperback)
Tiempos del futuro I (Kindle)
Tiempos del futuro II (Kindle)
Tiempos del futuro III (Kindle)

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