Thus far in the collection I am comfortable saying that "Time Gypsy" is easily my favorite Ellen Klages story. There are only two stories I haven't read and they will be hard pressed to prove me wrong. "Time Gypsy" is something else.
Dr. Carol McCullough is a Physics professor at Berkley and the Nobel Prize winning head of the Physics department asks to see her about Sara Baxter Clarke, a "crackpot from the 50's". Dr. McCullough is a scholar of Sara Baxter Clarke's theories in Physics. Dr. Chambers, the head of the department has figured out a way to make a working time machine and needs Dr. McCullough to go back in time to 1956 (from 2006), meet Sara Baxter Clarke, and get her hands on Clarke's final paper, the one she wrote before she mysteriously disappeared at age 28. If Dr. McCullough doesn't do this, well, she might as well look for a new school to teach at.
So, Carol McCullough does travel back forty years into the past, meets Sara Baxter Clarke, and nothing is at all what she expected.
I'm not telling this well. I'm not sure I can. This is what the story is about in a technical sense. It's not what the story is about at its heart nor does it describe how Ellen Klages is able to capture the imagination and emotion with "Time Gypsy".
"Time Gypsy" is a time travel story that follows the rules even if it is unexpected, it is a unconventional but perfectly normal love story, it is a story about honesty and integrity, about having the freedom to love as one wishes without persecution, it is a story featuring homosexuality without forcing any agenda or issue. Ellen Klages just tells the story as it is and the story just feels right. It feels true.
It's really, really good. Call me a sucker, but it was touching.