From the SwanCon XV program book, page 16. Transcribed by Doug. The page-top header says “THE MAN WHO’S ON EVERYONE’S PANEL (THANKFULLY)”.
A TIMELY LOOK AT GRANT STONE
By Stephen Dedman
The actual evidence for Grant Stone being an explorer/anthropologist from the far future is, I concede, mostly circumstantial, and might have been dismissed as merely coincidental by anyone but an sf fan. I have known Grant since 1985 – or, at least, he has known me since that time. I first met him at Swancon V in 1980, and he is not a man one forgets easily . . . but I did not have a chance to observe him closely until I was working at The Space Merchants, where Grant and his Murdoch University account number were regular customers.
The obvious hints that Grant is the product of slightly more evolution than the rest of us include a higher forehead and slightly larger eyes . . . but not all of us have evolved at the same rate (one well-known Swanconian and former security coordinator is justly proud of owning a perfectly preserved Neanderthaler skull: its sits on top of his neck). Grant’s vocabulary is, indeed, suspiciously similar to that of Haviland Tuf, which indeed suggests that he has indeed come from a very remote future indeed.His habit of making appointments without allowing for travelling time suggests that he is used to matter-transfer devices rather than motorcycles . . . but this was not, of itself, sufficient proof. Apart from these minor lapses, Grant has slotted himself into our primitive society remarkably well, and no-one would have been the wiser but for two accidents.
Time travel is, I’m sure, extremely difficult, and an error of ten years or so is probably no more serious than your luggage going to Arizona while you cross the border into Canada. Grant had obviously intended to arrive in Perth in the 1960’s, and dressed for the occasion. By the time he realised that it was 1980, he had already acquired a reputation as a man with a commendable disdain for fashion: to change now would only create suspicion.
The other glitch will be apparent to anyone who listens carefully to Grant talking: he arrived at the wrong speed. He talks, thinks and gestures faster than an ordinary twentieth-century human . . . and sometimes faster than two ordinary humans. He squeezes more activity into a day off than most of us would attempt in a working week. Maybe he’s trying to make up for his belated arrival: maybe he has to meet some urgent deadline to save the world.
I wish him the best of luck. If the people of the future are anything like Grant Stone, then it’s a future worth preserving.