Michelle Gordian
Fictional Character
POD: 1949
Type of Appearance: Direct
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 20th century
Occupation: Author of Fiction

Michelle Gordian was an up and coming science fiction author in her home timeline's 1980s.[1] However, her timeline had developed the ability of time travel, an ability she used to journey back to Gardena, California, in 1953, as "Mark Gordian", an author of eerily prescient fiction. As Mark, Michelle hoped to introduce ideas of hope, problem solving, and ingenuity into the timestream in order to prevent the outright apathy and disillusionment that characterized the 1988 of her timeline.[2]

Her writing eventually drew the unwanted attention of Pete Lundquist, another science fiction author who was convinced that "Mark's" story, "Reactions" was plagiarized from an as-of-yet published Lundquist work. He and editor Jim McGregor headed for Gardena to confront Gordian.[3] Both were surprised to learn that Gordian was a woman.[4] However, Lundquist surprised Gordian when he deduced she was a time-traveler.[5]

Upon meeting Pete, Michelle found herself attracted to him, despite the very different mindsets that existed between 1953 and 1988. She found his forthrightness intriguing, as well as the fact that she could confide the truth in him.

Although he was sorely tempted, Pete, a happily married man, rejected Michelle's advances.[6]

Michelle Gordian's Writings[]

This section lists the writings of "Mark" Gordian mentioned in the story. None are discussed in great detail, and so individual story articles have not been created.

  • "All You Zombies", a story that made all other time-traveler stories obsolete; originally written by Robert A. Heinlein.
  • "At the Core", originally written by Larry Niven.
  • "The Handicapped", originally written by Larry Niven.
  • "Heart Transplant", a story written by Gordian, based on medical knowledge from the 1980s.
  • "The Hole Man", originally written by Larry Niven.
  • "Houston, We Have a Problem", published in the 1950s, was based on the Apollo 13 incident of 1970, an event that had not happened yet.
  • "Neutron Star", a story which excited astronomers; originally written by Larry Niven.
  • "Reactions", published in 1953, was lifted from an as-of-yet published story by author Pete Lundquist. Lundquist brought the plagiarism to the attention of editor Jim McGregor, and the two learned Gordian's secret.
  • "Sunjammer I", originally written by Arthur Clarke.
  • "Sunjammer II"; no story by that title exists in OTL, however, Poul Anderson did write a story entitled "Sunjammer" that bore no relationship to Clarke's. This may be the story published as "Sunjammer II".
  • "Supernova", another story which excited astronomers; Lundquist was also taken with the casual way computing machines were depicted.
  • Tet Offensive, a novel based on the offensive of the same name during the Vietnam War, but published in the early 1950s, at a time when most Americans had never even heard of Vietnam. Jim McGregor, the novel's editor, had initially thought about rejecting it, fearing that readers would find it unbelievable. However, he realized that it was internally consistent, and so published it.
  • "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stone", originally written by Samuel R. Delany, mentioned in passing without explanation.
  • Watergate, a novel based on the events surrounding Richard Nixon's scandal-ridden presidency 20 years before it happened. Given that Nixon was the incumbent Vice President in 1953, Gordian chose not to use the future President's actual name in the novel. Serious critics described Watergate in the same breath as the works of George Orwell. Senator Joseph McCarthy hated it and publicly criticized it, which Pete Lundquist believed spoke well of it.

Literary Comment[]

Michelle Gordian's pen-name, Mark Gordian, was used by Harry Turtledove himself very early in his career. He published one story under the name, "Notes from the General Secretariat".


  1. See e.g. Kaleidoscope, pg. 115, MPB.
  2. Ibid., pgs. 115-119.
  3. Ibid., pgs. 98-100.
  4. Ibid., pg. 107-108.
  5. Ibid., pg. 109.
  6. Ibid., pgs. 126-127.