“Three Hours” shares something with another story in this collection, “Flash of Life.” Both won writing contests, and both appeared on TV screens before landing in a book.
In the days before YouTube, I collaborated with a producer friend on a direct-to-video series called Chronicles. It took a cue from The Twilight Zone—an anthology show featuring strange, even bizarre stories with a moral. We did four episodes before the producer, laden with other projects, decided to move on. I wrote two installments, including the pilot, “Three Hours.”
The difference between the video version of “Three Hours” and this one is that the former has an entire act (plus a female character) that doesn’t show up in the short story. That’s because the story wasn’t nearly enough to sustain a 30-minute episode. When preparing Random Precision, I briefly considered rewriting the story to include Weena—H.G. Wells fans will recognize the name—but decided that, while she was essential to the TV show, she wasn’t needed for the story.
Once again I revisit the theme of trying to rewriting one’s history to duck one’s responsibility. For Herbie—yup, H.G. Wells again—not only does it fail, but does so with horrific results.
If you like the short story and wonder what the Chronicles version was like, it’s your lucky day! It’s still available online.