First Reports on Tardive Dyskinesia Patients in Time Displacement Experiments

The first reported case of time displacement (popularly and somewhat inaccurately known as time travel) happened in the interior of a particle accelerator in São Paulo in 2112.

It happened entirely by chance.

As is the case with many scientific discoveries, sometimes you are looking for one thing, then another gets in the way, and with results you are most definitely not expecting. Viagra, for instance.

The time travel process (or, at least, its rudiments) was discovered by a researcher during the calibration of equipment between experiments.


Humankind had discovered the cure for many ailments and severe illnesses by the early twenty-second century. Most kinds of cancer, for instance, had been completely eradicated. But the common cold had not.

Neither had tardive dyskinesia.

Tardive dyskinesia was first diagnosed in the second half of the twentieth century. The development of this iatrogenic disorder, in medical jargon, is usually linked to the use of antipsychotic medications.

The word dyskinesia is Greek for erratic movement: people afflicted by that condition will suffer from involuntary movement of the mouth, tongue, and cheeks, resembling chewing motions with intermittent darting movements of the tongue; there may also be difficulty in performing voluntary muscular movement. Tardive dyskinesia is more common in women than in men and in the elderly than in the young. Symptoms of tardive dyskinesia can develop and persist long after use of the medication causing the disorder has been discontinued.

Dr. Mariana Lima was 55 and had been on antipsychotic drugs for eleven years. Even though metoclopramide hadn’t been commonly used for almost fifty years now, not every patient responded well to the current treatment, which combined transcranial magnetic stimulation and painkillers. It should be noted that Dr. Lima (from here on referred as Subject Zero) had never had a tardive dyskinesia episode before the afternoon of January 25th, 2112.

So, when Subject Zero started to tread on the catwalk crossing the accelerator and stopped to do the first calibration, she already noticed something was wrong but didn’t gave it much attention. “It was just a tic, nothing more,” she told the debriefing team later. “My left eye started to blink uncontrollably while I was walking, but when I stopped in front of the machine, bam!, it stopped. So I figured I must be nervous, you know, the thrill of the experiment…”

Right after Subject Zero started the calibration process, her right hand started jerking around between the motherboards. She cut herself. She cursed.

The two researchers who were supervising the process from the control room asked Subject Zero what happened, and asked her to return and let someone else do the calibration. Subject Zero agreed.

Then, when she turned to go back the way she came, the Subject Zero experienced the time displacement.

It was an unknown, impossible to control, and therefore terrifying experience to Subject Zero. Her body started to jerk and twist, to jump and swagger as if with a mind of its own.

Subject Zero went down the catwalk, sliding, sauntering, cakewalking, moonwalking. One step forward, two steps back. Baby steps. Turtle steps. Snail steps.

Then things started to change.

It was noticed that, upon walking along the particle accelerator in a state of tardive dyskinesia, Subject Zero started to experience slight changes in her surroundings, although no changes in herself. The two researchers that supervised the calibration, however, have stated that they noticed slight changes in her, such as: hair length and color, height, color and shape of shoes (most of her clothes were covered all the time by a lab coat).

(Which brought later to the minds of many the question: were they watching the same Subject Zero, or some alternate version/versions of her? This remains to be studied further.)

Upon walking ever forward on the catwalk, Subject Zero didn’t leave the surroundings of the particle accelerator, but, as she later told the retrieval information team in the debriefing, “It was as if lots of windows started to open at each side of the catwalk, as if I was walking on a train and could watch the landscape sweeping away by me, but different at every window…” She couldn’t be more specific.

The test didn’t take more than seventeen minutes in objective time, as seen from the point of view of outside observers.

The location of Subject Zero is unknown. There is currently a Subject Sixteen working in the premises. All reports relating the time displacement experiments with a possible rescue to the US Mars Mission are untrue.

* * * * *

Fabio Fernandes is a writer based in São Paulo, Brazil. Also a journalist and translator, he is responsible for the Brazilian translations of several prominent SF novels including Neuromancer, Snow Crash, and A Clockwork Orange. His short stories have been published in Brazil, Portugal, Romania, England, and the USA, and in Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, The Apex Book of World SF, Vol. II and Outlaw Bodies. He is currently finishing the co-editing process (with Djibril al-Ayad) of We See a Different Frontier, an SF postcolonialism anthology. Fabio tweets at

His other contributions to Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.

No Man is an Island


t all started at home, like everything does. As a child, he surveyed the edges of the land and, eventually, came to the conclusion that it was finite. The rocks that peppered the edge of the grass behind their garden; the stones that ran in sequences of two, then five, then hundreds and more, laying idle on the beaches to the west; the old stone towers, fissures wrinkling their surfaces with age, standing desolate on the northernmost promontories. All of these signs pointed to one thing: his was an island home.

At first, he left his circumscribed world by boat. Though his home had been made on Sarnia, he had plans, and he had to start somewhere. Nestled alongside Sarnia were its sister islands; several larger and two smaller. First, he set his sights on the bigger though more sparsely populated Angia, whose cliffs of limestone rose jagged and tall out of the English Channel. After a week on Angia, he rowed to the other islands, each in turn, making notes in his journal on the features and topography of each: outlines of coast and untouched beaches he had the fortune to christen, the types of stone that lay underneath the grass and the fish that jumped across the water’s surface.

On the beaches of the smallest of these islands, Herm, he made camp for several months. The sheer quality of the island’s light burned premature crow’s feet into his face, but he was happy, for a time.

At the age of 16, he made the decision to visit all of them. When he explained his plan to a Herm native, the man laughed and turned the sides of his mouth up in disbelief.

“Ludicrous,” the man said. “Visit every island in the world?”

“All two hundred and seventy three,” he replied.

At dawn the following day, he swam out to a small canoe that he had purchased from the old Hermer, and rowed until he hit the shipping lanes of the Channel. Like so much salmon, he was hauled aboard and tossed beneath deck. Several days later, he disembarked at a small outpost in the center of the Atlantic.

The Northern Hemisphere was his favorite, at least for the first twenty years. When Iceland grew dark, he took a biplane south to Uguntu, and marveled at the temperate climate this close to the equator. Greenland intrigued him, and he spent a year investigating its cities and glaciers, learning four types of Greenlandic in the north of the island and falling in love with the snowfall that kept the ice sheets from melting apart. It was so different to the other islands that he had visited.

Then, after living among the Kalaallit for eight years, he moved on.

His youth was spent swimming, flying, sailing from icy sheets that passed for islands to small tropical Edens where he laid his head for months. He spent a year marveling at rock pools on the shores of Hokkaido, talking with the marine biologists whose mission it was to save the native mussels that were so mysteriously important to their electronics industry.

But his final and favorite stop in the north was Attilan.

The Attiliac jungles lay in valleys between the hills, and multicolored birds drifted out and surveyed the land as the bright Pacific kissed the coastline. The heat strengthened his bones and the sun, not sheer like Herm’s, but warm and glowing, made his skin tan and taut. He felt that he would live forever.

The biplane that bore him south into new territory was rusty but comfortingly solid. At the age of 38, his skin had wrinkled some but his mind was as sharp as ever. Crossing the equator felt like a betrayal, but the list in his journal still had 139 names left unchecked.

The Southern Hemisphere was different; blue like the blood behind his skin. The plane landed in Madagascar and he decamped to the forests that infringed upon the beaches. But the weather didn’t suit him, the humidity keeping his skin—like the broad leaves of the jungle—constantly bedewed with sweat.

After a year in the mercifully dry heat of Tasmania, he took a week to hop from one Micronesian island to another, finally resting up for six months under the wide Tungan trees in the Indian Ocean. As his notes grew longer, his list became shorter. One by one, he was scratching small check marks next to the remaining insular destinations: Christmas Island; Falls Rock; each of the Balleny Islands; Jødhut.

He cooled for several months in the Antarctic waters, and, during his second week in the Wyatt Earp Islands, frostbite set in. Helicopter blades whipped the tundra into a frenzy as the medics from the Australian base across the border treated his blackened hand.

“For a man of 57, you’re lucky not to lose these fingers,” they told him. He smiled—after all, what did fingers matter?—and waved as the rotors floated them away, back toward their glacial territory.

At 78, he was weaker and slower, but no less determined. In twenty years, he had visited more than half of the rocks in the southern oceans, and settled in the abandoned harbor lighthouse in Port Vila. He loved Vanuatu. The Polynesians were laid back, and he had slackened his pace to match.

But in the small journal, there was one name left unchecked. He sent for maps, picking them up at the post office, and purchased a small husk of a boat from a trader who owed him a favor. From the giant, incomprehensible maps, he tore a single square—the only square he needed—and climbed into the boat with a creak in his bones.

The final island. It took hours, but he made it. Pulling the map out of his jacket, he switched the motor off, letting the boat drift forward with the current. A constellation of points and rounded edges signified No Man’s Island, the smallest in the Pacific, and two hundred seventy third of two hundred and seventy three. But scanning the ocean around him, all that he could see was water, flowing idly to the back of the boat and pushing him on.

He lay back against the stern and stretched his arms out so that they balanced on the wooden hull to either side of him. The tides lilted back and forth, unsure which way they wanted to send him. In the sky, a single cloud. Wisps at either edge broke off and disappeared into nothingness.

He may have lain there for minutes or months. He wasn’t sure. Eventually, his hands grew numb, and he felt a huge weight pressing down on his torso. To either side, the boat had calcified into rock that now held steady and unperturbed against the waters of the Pacific.

Above, the sky was growing bluer, then white, then as clear as the waters of Herm. Around him—though he could no longer see anything—sand and stone coalesced and drove the waters back. Following the outline of his prone form, the stones increased his size by two times, then five, then hundreds and more.

Soon, all that remained was a rough approximation of a person, surrounded by rock and stone, grains of sand the size of pinheads, and the finite lines of No Man’s Island.

* * * * *

DLR is editor and cofounder of Snake-Oil Cure. He likes writing for fun, and writing for money. He likes his dogs to have beards, and his bourbon to have poise. His other Snake-Oil contributions can be found here.

Macau Harbor

It lay like a protected virgin;
serenely composed in a sepia dawn,
marbled clouds playing Chinese whispers
amongst low-slung hills.

These were the days before cruise ships and casinos;
water dotted with junks and fisher folk,
no signs of demon triads
or Southern Belles molesting roulette wheels.

The day I arrived the streets were hot and choked with tourists,
I escaped to the Portugese Church in the central square
then wandered to the foreshore
to commune with ancestral breezes.

As the ferry headed back to Honkers
I dreamed about what must have been;
of quiet days and tranquil nights
before the colonizers came.

* * * * *

This poem is part of a series of works inspired by the Smithsonian Institution’s photo archive, made publicly available on Flickr. If you would like to, choose an image from their collection and create something – be it prose, poetry, audio, or visual art – inspired by it, and send it to snakeoilcure [at] gmail [dot] com.

Exposure № 013: Point and Shoot at 70mph

Photographer Ellen Jantzen tells us about her work:

I took a series of photos out of the passenger window while on a 6,000 mile road trip with my husband this spring from Missouri to California and back using a point and shoot camera. I used this type of camera deliberately to capture images in a very spontaneous way. Many times we passed so quickly (at 70 MPH) I missed shots, but other times I was able to anticipate and shoot before I really saw and was surprised by the captured image.

I was mesmerized by the changing landscape and, since this was April, we also encountered vast seasonal changes, from the dark gray sky and flat leafless planes of Nebraska, to snow closing the freeway in Wyoming. Once over the Donner Pass, the brilliant green of early spring in Northern California was almost blinding.

Upon return, I set about to sort through my 4,000 photos and pick those that best captured the feeling of motion and change. I took these base images and manipulated them to heighten the motion and the emotional attachment I have to this vast land.

Exposure № 009: Mysore

Says Helen Korpak: “This photo is part of a larger body of work I produced while traveling in south India during the first months of 2011. I coped with the huge amount of new impressions and experiences by partly turning my photography inwards and not only examining and documenting my surroundings but also myself, taking daily self-portraits as a complement to my written diary.”