Re: Request for Info ... Diva? Anyone? Beuller?
Fri, 24 Apr 1998 15:04:30 -0500 (EST)

>Circa 1986-8 I read a book, pure pulp, but with a fascinating premise.
>A chemist... creates a drug, a derivative of LSD ... which when injected,
>propels him backward in time, through the stored genetic memories of
>his ancestors. I would love to find & re-read this book, alas, all I
>remember of it is that the cover was sky blue, with clouds, and a clock
>face, where the hands of the clock were hypodermic syringes.
>Any help would be appreciated.

*Argh* This is the type of question that makes a reference librarian feel like
running from the building screaming at the tops of their lungs. There are many
a days when I am expected to retrieve items via Interlibrary Loan and the
person has given me an incorrect citation or worse yet information such as "I
want the book with the green cover that was published in 1989" -- it happens
more than one could imagine, and the faculty are the worse offenders! Student
citations are generally more trustworthy for ILL than those given by faculty...
the stereotype of absent-minded professor certainly applies to many members of
the faculty on our campus.

Anyhow, on to the question at hand -- for if I am to live up to my name of Info
Diva then I feel compelled to find an answer for Jay. After all, I found an
answer for Adam on the number of Asian-Indians in the USA -- which both he
and Rohit had been unable to extract from the government census site. Oh,
AND I have a second answer for Adam and I will post it to the list
as soon as I have a spare minute to compile the citations (Adam sent me three
questions -- I have two down and one to go).

Here is what I can offer in way of an answer to Jay's query:

The plot that you outlined sounded to me as if it was something that would be
written by Poul Anderson -- he is a sci-fi writer that does a lot of writing on
time traveling. I vaguely remember a short story that was published by
Anderson in the 1960's/1970's that has a similar plot and it could be that
Poul Anderson later worked this short story up into a novel.

One of the problems to trying to find an answer for a fiction book is the way
in which fiction is catalogued by libraries. No Subject Headings are assigned
to fiction as a general rule, thus it is not possible to query bibliographic
utilities to find an answer to a fiction related request in the same way as can
be done to find non-fiction items. Finding fiction titles relies on a
librarians personal knowledge and their ability to sleuth it through a variety
of print resources, such as the SCI-FI Encyclopedia.

I have read a few of Anderson's novels and there is one that is EXTREMELY close
to the plot that you described -- the only difference is that the time
travelling character is born with the ability to time travel and does not have
to rely on drugs to induce this state. In this novel the main character
travels back to the time of Christ's crucifixion, the period of the
French Enlightenment, and so forth. If you can not find the original novel
that you read, you might find this to be an interesting substitute. The novel
is called THERE WILL BE TIME and it is by Poul Anderson.

In the meantime, I will keep hunting for "the book with the clouds on the
cover" ;-)

Janie L. Wilkins (
Reference/ILL Librarian
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Geneva, NY 14456

"There are two major products that come out of
Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this
to be a coincidence."
-- Jeremy S. Anderson (who is not related to Poul)