The Toynbee Convector

The Toynbee Convector

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The Toynbee Convector

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"The Toynbee Convector" is a science fiction short story by Ray Bradbury. First published in Playboy magazine in 1984, the story was subsequently featured in a 1988 short story collection also titled The Toynbee Convector.

Plot summary

The protagonist is Craig Bennett Stiles, also referred to as the Time Traveller, a man from an economically and creatively stagnant society (about 1984). Stiles claims to have invented a time machine (which he privately refers to as his Toynbee Convector, although he does not reveal the name of the device to anyone until much later) which he used to travel forwards in time about a hundred years. Now, after returning to the present, he shows evidence - films and other records collected on his journey - showing that man has developed an advanced civilization with many marvellous and helpful inventions, and a restored natural environment. He also claims to have then destroyed the machine deliberately to prevent anyone else doing the same.

Initially, the people of the past are skeptical of the Traveller's claims, but they are unable to explain or disprove the authenticity of the records brought from the future. Inspired by the prospect of a utopian future, many people begin projects to fulfill the vision and create the world the Traveller claims to have seen.

A hundred years later, the perfect world of Stiles' visions has come to pass, just as he saw in his time travel. As a now aged Stiles recounts the story to a visiting reporter —...
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