Ever feel like you just don’t have time? Of course you do. That’s the nature of our world. We have too much to do, not enough time to do it. If only you had a time machine, you could read that novel and see that movie and get in eight hours of work and find time to exercise and get the dinner cooked and maybe get a good night’s sleep.
Well, the Cudworth-Hooper Gadabout TM 1050 is just the thing for you, a “lite-vacuum” time machine that’s economic, energy-efficient, and space-saving. It has “fully automatic space-time configurations and patented Chrono-matic Accuracy,” and is just the thing for short trips through time.
Even though the Gadabout makes time travel simple, there are still dangers involved if you operate the Gadabout improperly, so you’ll want to pay close attention to the red-bordered safety instructions. There are some of the expected warnings, like “do not immerse time machine in water” or “always turn off time machine before any maintenance or repair.” But there are many other warnings that you might not be aware of:
- Do not go back in time and attempt to claim invention of time machine.
- Do not connect your household vacuum to time machine.
- Do not use time machine to determine ovo/Gallus domesticus order.
- Do not use time machine as a hot tub.
- Do not use time machine as a replacement for a moral compass.
The manual points out the useful features of the Gadabout TM 1050, like the cigar lighter, ice dispenser, and adjustable seat backs. (Ice build-up is a natural consequence of the functioning of the gravitational singularity, so Cudworth-Hooper decided to incorporate that into an ice dispenser which you can use to freshen up your passengers’ drinks.) The troubleshooting section covers what to do if you discover two of yourself when you arrive at a destination, accidentally kill your grandfather, or get stuck in a time loop. However, you’ll want to pay close attention to instructions about checking the battery charge, because there doesn’t seem to be any solution for failure of the dimensional collapse. (Recommended action: “exit the Gadabout immediately and seek shelter. If possible, communicate any final messages to loved ones.”)
If you do get stranded somewhere, the Gadabout’s emergency beacon will transmit your space-time position to an Emergency Response Center. “Furthermore the colored pahoehoe inside the beacon is scientifically proven to produce a soothing and calming effect.” You may also be able to use the emergency two-way communicator to speak with the Emergency Response Center.
Ok, I’ll let you in on a secret.
Sadly, the Gadabout isn’t here yet… or it used to be but isn’t any longer. (It’s hard to say, with time travel.) You can, however, still get your hands on the Gadabout TM 1050 manual, originally printed in 1953 and released from a collector’s estate last year. The cover is a luxurious velvety heavy paper of some sort, in an avocado green reminiscent of everything else from the era, bound by two large rivets, and full of wonderful diagrams and instructions.
Curio & Co. is an Austrian company that creates nostalgic items (like this Gadabout manual) related to things that don’t really exist. It reminds me of all the “Woody’s Round-up” merchandise that showed up in Toy Story 2, this fascinating historical detritus that the Pixar folks made out of whole cloth — but it all looked real. Granted, the Gadabout manual is full of fun little references, like the hot tub safety warning. You’ll notice that the battery is 1.21 GW, and that one of the long list of tools they recommend having on hand at home is a left-handed smoke shifter.
The manual is gorgeous and feels like a relic. The juxtaposition of time travel with 1950s styling is great: the cup-holders are designed for glasses with stems, and there’s an ashtray that empties into the gravitational singularity. I love the diagrams, like the engine compartment pictured above that labels items 7 through 16 as “other.”
The manual isn’t cheap: it’s $44.95 for the 96-page book. Even with free shipping to the US, UK, and Austria, that may seem a bit steep if you’re thinking in terms of just price per page. However, holding the manual in my hands and poring over the details, I have to say that this isn’t a mere book. It’s a cool art object that really stands out. If you know somebody who loves time travel science fiction, this would make a really fun gift — maybe the next best thing to having an actual time machine.
Disclosure: Curio & Co. provided a sample to GeekDad for review.