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Time travel story about lone loser in family of overachievers?
November 22, 2010 2:12 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a science fiction short story, probably from a science fiction magazine from the mid-1990s, involving time travel; a female graduate student from the future visits a contemporary ladies' man to figure out why he, alone in a family of very successful people, never excelled at anything in life.

Spoilers towards the end of this description. I read this short story sometime in the 1990s, I think, when I was subscribing to magazines like Asimov's, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and maybe some others. The setting is a man's apartment, probably in the 1990s. He discovers a time traveler, a young woman, in his apartment; she is writing a paper or something about the extraordinary achievements of pretty much every member of his recent lineage - except him. As far as he can tell, his mother accomplished nothing in her life; but the time traveler reveals that an academic paper she wrote will be famous and important decades down the line. And various of his children and/or siblings and/or grandchildren go on to do great things. She came to investigate him, to determine why he never amounted to much.

Spoiler/little twist at the end: he seduces and beds her; and, when she leaves, reflects that if she writes her paper, history will reflect that he was incredibly successful at one thing - seduction and sex.

Anybody read this, and know where I can find it?
posted by mistersix to Writing & Language (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Was it by Connie Willis? Seems like something she'd write.
posted by backwards guitar at 2:59 PM on November 22, 2010


I don't think so; the short stories between 1992 and 1998 listed on her Wikipedia page don't have titles which match the plot.
posted by mistersix at 5:34 PM on November 26, 2010


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