It is not just the fantastical elements of these short stories that make them so compelling though. As we reach the end of “When Time Turned” (Ethel Watts Mumford), the bittersweet realization that it is an account of a man who has lived his life backwards from the time of his wife’s death is heartbreaking. In this and many of the others, we are given tales that work both on the supernatural and natural levels. Like all good fiction, the interpretation is left to the reader to decide.
Jack London is the most famous name to grace these pages. His first published story was “A Thousand Deaths,” and appeared in the May 1899 issue of The Black Cat. It is a wild piece, about a man discovering a process to liquefy people, cleanse them, then bring them back to life. It just so happens that his experiments are done on his own wayward son, and when the old man starts talking about vivisection, the tables are turned.
Editor Gene Christie has selected a great assortment of short stories for The Man Who Found Zero. While a few of the references may be obscure today, the imaginative nature of this material is as vibrant as ever. It may be "your great-grandparent’s science fiction," but it is as good or better as anything you will find on the shelf today.