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I read a lot of science fiction when I was younger. Time travel was always a good bet - starting with the "grandfather paradox", where the question is posed: what would happen to you if you went back in time and killed your grandfather, or at the least prevented him from marrying your grandmother? What would change? Would you cease to exist? Or you went on a safari to kill a dinosaur and happened to step on a butterfly that wasn't supposed to die, as in Ray Bradbury's A Sound of Thunder?

One of my favorite stories was Vintage Season, by Henry Kuttner and Catherine Moore (and published under the pseudonym "Lawrence O'Donnell"...).

So set your controls and follow me past the orange singularity for a brief synopsis.

Oliver Wilson is renting an old mansion to three vacationers for the month of May. He wants to get rid of them so he can sell the house to someone who has offered him three times its value, provided the buyer can move in during May. His fiancée, Sue, insists that he arrange for them to leave, so that he can sell the house, giving them enough money for their impending marriage.

The tenants are a man, Omerie Sancisco, and two women, Klia and Kleph Sancisco. They fascinate Oliver with the perfection of their appearance and manners, their strange connoisseur's attitude to everything, and their secretiveness about their origin and about their insistence on that house at that time. Oliver's half-hearted attempts to evict them founder when he becomes attracted to Kleph. The mystery deepens with remarks she lets slip, with the unspectacular but advanced technology of things she has in her room—including a recorded "symphonia" that engages all the senses with imagery of historical disasters—and with the appearance of the would-be buyers, a couple from the same country, who plant a "subsonic" in the house intended to drive the residents out.

Hearing Kleph sing "Come hider, love, to me" from the Prologue to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Oliver realizes that she and her friends are time travelers from the future. He traps Kleph into admitting they are visiting the most perfect seasons in history, such as a fall in the late 14th century in Canterbury.

At the end of May, more time travelers visit the house. A meteorite lands nearby, destroying buildings and starting fires—the "spectacle" that the time travelers wanted to end their visit with. Oliver's house survives, as the visitors had already known it would.

The story becomes darker, as Oliver begins to realize that the travelers often visit times just before great tragedies - almost echoing those of our era who seem to enjoy "disaster porn" - but keep themselves safe from the destruction visited upon the unsuspecting residents of that era.

Sadly, before being able to warn the present Earth of things he has learned, Oliver succumbs to a widespread new plague - most likely brought from the future - although the travelers, not unlike following the Prime Directive in Star Trek, are usually careful to not interact with the people they visit in ways that would change the future, but accidents can happen...

Hey...hold it. This is too depressing for a party.

Cartoons. That's what we need, cartoons. So... how about Sherman and Mr Peabody in the Wayback Machine, and how Beethoven wrote his symphonies...

So where would you like to go in the past...or into the future? I think I'd like Paris beginning in the late 1800s and into the 1920s, just so I could hang out with some interesting artistic types and drink absinthe...

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