Conrad's Time Machine

Born to Be Weird...

When Tom Kolczyskrenski got his discharge papers from the Air Force, he decided to look up his old palsand the world would never be the same. At one time, the oddly mismatched trio had been roommates, then they'd gone their separate ways. Tom, for lack of money, enlisted in the Air Force to learn electronics. The other two had finished college, lan McTavish going into mechanical engineering and a job with GM, and Jim Hasenpfeffer into behavioral science, leading to his having gotten a Department of Defense grant tothis is serious stuff, nowstudy social interactions in motorcycle gangs.

So the three set out to be their own motorcycle gang. But these easy riders had barely begun to closely observe their own interactions when they ran across a strange perfectly hemispherical hole in the ground where a house used to be, with everything that had been in the sphere of influence slowly materializing in bits and pieces in the surrounding area. And they found the plans for the machine that had done this, and were sure they could duplicate it and get rich. But before long they would be wishing they had kept on being the three musketeers on bikes, instead of the three stooges of time travel....


Leo Frankowski is widely known for the popular "Cross-Time Engineer" series, which has gone through six novels to date, with translated editions in three languages. He is also the author of Copernick's Rebellion, a novel of a future based on a revolution in the biological sciences, of which The SF Site writes, "I have never read anything as original as Copernick's Rebellion , . . [it's] on my top 10 list." His other novels for Baen are A Boy and His Tank and The Fata Morgana. Frankowski was nominated for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer. He has held more than a hundred different positions, ranging from scientist in an electro-optical research lab to chief engineer to company president. His work in chemical and optical instrumentation has earned him several patents. Currently a writer and consulting engineer, he lives with his new Russian wife and teenage daughter in Tver, Russia.

Illustration by David Mattingly
Cover design by Carol Russo Design

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This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.

First printing, September 2002

Distributed by Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN: 0-7434-3557-5

Copyright 2002 by Leo A. Frankowski

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.

A Baen Books Original
Baen Publishing Enterprises
P.O. Box 1403
Riverdale, NY 10471

Production by Windhaven Press
Auburn, NH

Electronic version by Baen Books


This book is dedicated to my new wife, Marina.
She is beautiful, intelligent, warm, loving, and
more than any man could possibly deserve.


This story had been rattling around for so long that virtually
every person that I have ever known has read parts of it
and made useful suggestions. I've gotten feedback from
hundreds and hundreds of people, and I can't
possibly give them all the credit that they deserve.
Dave Grossman gave me the idea for the ending,
but the rest must remain unnamed.

Baen Books by Leo Frankowski

A Boy and His Tank
Fata Morgana
Conrad's Time Machine