I wish I had a Time Machine
Karen Johnson, from Out of the Kaje #3, January 1999

I wish I had a time machine so I could go back three months and rewrite my last conversation with Ian Gunn from “Thanks for the wallaby fridge magnet.” “That’s OK. I saw it and thought you’d like it.” to some deep and meaningful exchange.

I wish I had a time machine so I could go into the future, buy up a stock of the cure for cancer they’ve been working on for the last 50 years, take it back and give it to Ian.

I wish I had a time machine so I could walk up to Gunny in the street one day and say “Guess what? I never thought I’d meet someone with a sense of humour just like mine…”

I wish I had a time machine so that I could have seen Ian with hair.

I wish I had a time machine so I could go back twelve months and tear up the ‘Congratulations, I hear you’ve beaten cancer’ card I sent when it was already obvious to Ian and Karen that they hadn’t.

I wish I had a time machine so I could go back to last year and track down the person who nominated me for a Ditmar award. Then I’d get them to cross my name out and put Ian Gunn’s instead.

I wish I had a time machine so that I could have known Ian when he was well.

I wish I had a time machine so that I could have seen that infamous Obelix costume in real life.

I wish I had a time machine so that I could have been a part of ANZAPA while Ian was gracing it with his presence and his fantastic cartoons.

I wish I had a time machine so I could have added my name to the wedding card at that last MSFC meeting.

I wish I had a time machine so I could give Ian some of the ‘plastic spaceman’ stickers I just found.

I wish I had a time machine so I could have been at the funeral to say goodbye.

I wish I had a time machine so I could find all the people who didn’t vote for Ian in the Hugo awards in the last three years, and stand over them till they did. That at least, we can make up. Ian Gunn for Fan Artist – it’s the last chance ever.

I wish I had a Time Machine so I could do all these things, but alas, there’s no such thing. Time Travel is strictly one way, and there’s only one way I’ll see Ian again, in about another 50 years.
Some people believe that Heaven’s a limitless sea of clouds where people sit around playing harps all day and wearing halos. Somehow, I can’t see Ian doing that – he must be giving the Angels hell if that’s the case! Heaven is a place where all the cares of the world are gone, and you’re free to be just exactly the person you always longed to be, or were prevented from being by circumstances as they say ‘beyond your control’. For many fans, that means the Eternal Convention – no crowds, the ultimate guest list (Asimov, Heinlein, George Turner, Bill Rotsler, Vin¢ Clarke… it’s a good thing Heaven’s got limitless space.), no hangovers, and no need to ever go home. Save us a place at the Bar, Gunny, we’ll have a lot to talk about next time we meet.