Is it a crime to send a chemistry textbook back in time? It’s been done, and the investigation into the act (which coincidentally accompanied the death of the physicist who did it) uncovers the fact that it was done in the deliberate attempt to change the past, to teach the ancient Greeks enough modern chemistry and physics to bring about the Scientific Revolution two millennia early.

In the end, however, nothing comes of it, for the classics professor who did the translation into ancient Greek of the text didn’t do a thorough job, partly deliberately and partly because of philosophical limitations underlying the language.

This is a terrific time-travel story, although I must confess to not liking it very much the first few times I read The Early Asimov. It handles the paradoxes of time travel well and in an interesting and unique fashion. It’s very firmly among Asimov’s best from the 1940’s.

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