Looking for SF short story: a lecture where scientists are repeatedly sending a probe back in time and the entire audience is changing each time


New Member
Aug 12, 2019
Hello! I'm trying to find the name of a science fiction short story.

Media: I saw this in a paperback anthology of short stories.
Year of Publication: Not sure, but I'd guess the 1980s.
Major themes: time travel and its effect on the present
Plot: The scene is of a lecture; there is a speaker and an audience. Presumably, to begin with, everyone is standard-issue human. There is a team of scientist whose job it is to send a probe back in time; the probe gathers data of some kind. They send this probe back multiple times while the lecture is going on, and the lecturer is explaining what the probe does, and the audience is asking questions about causality and time hygiene and the like. As this progresses, the speaker and audience are morphing; each time the probe gets sent back, the "humans" are rather different than they were the time before, until, at the end, they're unrecognizably different. They are, of course wholly unaware of this. At the end, the lecturer finishes his talk with a wave of his pseudopods.
Setting: A lecture hall somewhere.
Characters: Not sure any are ever named.
Language: English
Cover details: no idea
Target age group: adult
Ideas I've ruled out: I tried to search for the word "pseudopods" in conjunction with SF/science fiction short story, but there's a podcast by that name, so even if that word does literally appear in my story, it's buried under a thousand other hits.

Thank you so much!

Danny McG

"Kree kruh vergo gebba kalto kree!"
Sep 9, 2016
Cumbria UK
Could it be Brooklyn Project by William Tenn?
Excellent, I would definitely say you've nailed it! It's got the pseudopods etc just as described. Again, well done

This link gives the entire short story

Watzi W

New Member
Oct 22, 2019
Congratulations! Except for the Pseudopods - a very similar theme and plot is R. A. Lafferty's "Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne": Scientists kill certain people and experience changes...

Larry A. Tilander

New Member
Jun 2, 2020
It sounds like something I wrote, but I can't recall it ever being published. It was about a group of professors trying to disprove someone's time machine theory and every time they tried it they said, "See; it doesn't work.", but also every time they tried it a miniscule action, tossing a fish back into the ocean, stepping on a worm etc. changed everything until they were nothing remotely human anymore.

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