As is the case with many of the novellas, man out of time resulted from a short story. In case anyone doesn’t have time to read six thousand words on a blog, here is the short and sweet version. Enjoy!
“Gary Ridgway, you have served your sentence of 1680 years, and you are now free to go.” With a nod to the judge the criminal turns and walks away. They had called him crazy for volunteering for the cryogenic freezing program, but it had worked. They had thawed him out a hundred years or so ago, and it turns out he was the only one who survived the thawing process. Now he was the world’s oldest man by over a thousand years.
He grabs his affects and heads out of the gates to his sky cab. A reporter on Mars has paid over 10 trillion dollars to be the first to interview. He was informed this is equivalent to only a million dollars in his time’s money, but it was still a lot.
A crowd of fans and historians is at the gates to greet him, but he just ducks his head and silently passes through, aided by a few members of the emperor’s personal bodyguard. Apparently the emperor of earth has declared anyone who harms this historical person is to be executed onsight, and has ordered a few of his best man, and several satellite laser strike drones, to see that it is done.
As he sits down in the plush personal interstellar car and takes off he realizes one thing. He doesn’t want any of it. He was happy they had locked him up. He was an addict who hated himself, but just couldn’t stop. When they had sentenced him he was almost overjoyed that the world would be protected from him.
Then when the cryo experiment came up he signed up immediately, not expecting to survive. If he had died giving his life to progress life saving technology, maybe it would have balanced out all the evil he had done. Now he was the sole survivor, and they were worshipping the ground he walked on. He had money, protection, fame, and it disgusted him.
As the cab fired up its FTL drive he sighed and thought about what he would say. They would try to make him a superstar. The millennium man, the ice man, father time, he was already hearing the names from his guards. He would have to take that fame, that money, and do something with it. He had spent his first chance at life destroying others. Now he was given a second chance at life, and he would spend it building others. It wouldn’t be enough. It couldn’t possibly be enough, but he had to try.