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Word Count: 558
Exactly one hundred years ago in 1895 H G Wells classic story The Time Machine was first published in book form As befits the subject matter that was the minus tenth anniversary of the first publication in 1905 of Albert Einsteins special theory of relativity It was Einstein as every schoolchild knows who first described time as the fourth dimension -- and every schoolchild is wrong It was actually Wells who wrote in The Time Machine that there is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of Space except that our consciousness moves along it Since the time of Wells and Einstein there has been a continuing literary fascination with time travel and especially with the paradoxes that seem to confront any genuine time traveller something that Wells neglected to investigate The classic example is the so- called granny paradox where a time traveller inadvertantly causes the death of his granny when she was a small girl so that the travellers mother and therefore the traveller himself were never born In which case he did not go back in time to kill granny and so on A less gruesome example was entertainingly provided by the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein in his story By his bootstraps available in several Heinlein anthologies The protagonist in the story stumbles on a time travel device brought back to the present by a visitor from the far future He steals it and sets up home in a deserted stretch of time constantly worrying about being found by the old man he stole the time machine from -- until one day many years later he realises that he is now the old man and carefully arranges for his younger self to find and steal the time machine Such a narcissistic view of time travel is taken to its logical
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