SOLARPUNK: The Heart of the Sun

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To him, time travel had only ever been about the past.

He wanted to peek from behind the blood-red velvet curtains while Marie-Antoinette was having her cake and eating it; he wanted to hide in the gator-infested swamps to see Armstrong boarding the spacecraft, still blissfully unaware that being the first man on the moon would turn out to be both a blessing and a curse.

No inclination on his side to see the future, to find out whether the silver screen artists had got it right, to confirm the painful suspicion of what those ruined buildings scattered across dead and empty plains might have been in the past. Of what apes roaming the windswept beaches might think of their distant relative.

Of course, there were the rules. No interfering when going back. No killing your grandfather, obviously. And so he’d seen dictators rise and fall, wars start and end, peace treaties being signed and broken, and, increasingly, humanity’s failure to harness its own inventions. And then, one day, he’d simply seen enough.

Today, he’d go forward for the first time. The only time. He stepped into the device, and the sync software, sensing his mood and intention, put on Pink Floyd’s ‘Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun’. That’s where he was going. Most people didn’t realise that ‘heart’ wasn’t just a figure of speech.

He could feel the sun’s pulsing rhythm and his own, and soon both tunes would fuse.  Five billion years left to get there before the final darkness, but he knew he’d be there in the blink of an eye. He’d run out of hope for himself, but not for them. He’d left the plans for the machine behind, and they’d find them when they came looking for him, neatly laid out on the coffee-stained workbench in the old garage.

After that, it was up to them what they’d do with their future – and their past.


  • Robbie Martzen lives in Luxembourg and studied modern languages and literature in Brussels and Dublin. Several of his poems and short stories have been published in anthologies and journals, both in Luxembourg and abroad. He likes nature, animals, and sometimes people. He also enjoys writing about all of the above. Some of his writing can be found at wildfire-words.com/, cahiersluxembourgeois.lu/, and www.blackfountain.lu/, the rest is in his drawer, which, incidentally, is bigger on the inside.

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