The Great Time Machine Hoax

The Great Time Machine Hoax

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The Great Time Machine Hoax

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The Great Time Machine Hoax is a science fiction novel by Keith Laumer, in expansion of his novelette serialized in Fantastic Magazine under the title of "A Hoax in Time" from June-August, 1963. For the novel version Laumer altered the framing story, rearranged the order of the narrative, and added a section not found in the earlier version. The book was originally published in hardcover by Simon and Schuster in 1964, and in paperback by Pocket Books in 1965. Later editions were published by Award Books in 1974 and Ace Books in 1978 and 1984; the novel was also reprinted in the collection Keith Laumer: the Lighter Side, published by Baen Books in 2002.


Chester W. Chester IV inherits a run-down mansion and millions in back taxes. In order to pay the taxes, he initially decides to auction off the mansion and its contents, including a massive computer (the Generalized Nonlinear Extrapolator, or "Genie").

However, while examining the mansion and the computer with his friend Case Mulvihill, he finds the computer can solve complex problems involving historical fact and display realistic images of them. He hits on the idea of using its capabilities to create an elaborate hoax ... a fake time machine. Accordingly, he asks the computer to show him "real, three-D, big as life dinosaurs and plenty of em - and how about a four-wall presentation?" The computer asks if it should employ a method of doing so that "is a purely theoretical...
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