2011 Chesley Award Winner: Best Cover Illustration - Magazine
Ten Winks to Forever
by Bud Sparhawk
"Remember me, Wil Tibbits," Eleanor said just before taking that instantaneous
wink into a distant future near a star that had no name. "Maybe I'll see you again at
the end of time."
The likelihood of us running into one another again was negligible. There were
simply too many stars.
And too many years.
Eleanor felt the need to correct me when, during the first day of our training on
Mars, I mentioned something about how the Renkinns had made instantaneous
"It isn't instantaneous," she said. "The Renkinn doesn't work that way."
"Of course it does," I replied. "It took no time between leaving Earth and arriving
That wasn't completely true. The trip from Earth orbit to Purcel station had taken a
few hours, and then there was the delay of getting prepared for the wink, and the
recovery time afterwards. But the wink itself had taken no apparent time
"It wasn't instantaneous," she repeated. "We were winking at light speed, and
time," she asserted, "has a universal 'speed' of one second per second."
"Duh," I replied as though I didn't care. I just wanted to get under her so-superior
"If . . . ," she went on, eager to belabor her trivial point, "if you had sent a message
to Mars the instant we winked, that message would arrive on Mars at the same time
as we did."
"Proving we spent no time in transit," I declared.
"We only apparently moved instantaneously," she shot back. "The rest of the
universe is a few minutes older than us now."
"So what? For all practical purposes it's the same. Wink at Beijing and appear on
Mons Olympus -- no time at all. Who cares about a minute or two? We've wasted
more time than that talking about this."