by Matthew Baugh
Elizabeth (Bitsy) Spiegleman is born.
Maureen Danielle Birnbaum is born. (This estimate is based on the Muffster's assertion that she had a crush on Paul McCartney in '66. This may be the youngest case of Beatle-mania on record, but Maureen could not possibly have been born any earlier.)
This is the year Maureen traveled back in time to for her encounter with the Lovecraftian horrors that lurk at Yale University. (Told in "Maureen Birnbaum and the Looming Awfulness")
On January 15 Maureen's ski trip to Vermont is rudely interrupted when she finds herself inexplicably transported to Mars. This puts her age at 16, which seems right for a high school junior. (Told in "Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson")
Maureen returns to Earth and recounts her adventures on Mars to her best friend Bitsy Spiegleman.
1985 January 15
Maureen comes crashing into Bitsy (who now prefers Betsy) Spiegleman's life to recount her adventures with the ape creatures who dwell inside the hollow earth. Betsy notes that is "Four years to the day..." From Maureen's first disappearance. (Told in "Maureen Birnbaum at the Earth's Core")
Maureen crashes Betsy Spiegleman's honeymoon to tell her about her adventures in Earth's distant future ruled by warring horseclans. (Told in "Maureen Birnbaum on the Art of War")
Two months after the honeymoon Maureen shows up again to tell Betsy Spiegleman-Fein about her adventures on a world in a distant star cluster. Betsy is now 22 years old but Maureen still looks (and thinks) like a high school junior. (Told in "Maureen Birnbaum At Nightfall")
Maureen returns to tell Betsy (who now goes by the more adult name Elizabeth Spiegleman-Fein) of her adventures with Robin Hood in England. Elizabeth is now 26 and is 5 months pregnant. Maureen is the same as ever. (Told in "Maureen Birnbaum Goes Shopynge")
Elizabeth has her life interrupted yet again when Maureen returns from her quest for the Holy Grail. Betsy is 29 now but Maureen seems to be eternally youthful. (Told in "Maureen Birnbaum and the Saint Graal")
Elizabeth Spiegleman-Fein's husband Josh dumps her for a receptionist named Candi-Ann. Shortly following this she suffers another traumatic visit from Maureen who tells her about being transported back in time to face Lovecraftian horrors. Elizabeth's son Malachi Bret (who would probably have been born in 1990) is now 4 years old. (Told in "Maureen Birnbaum and the Looming Awfulness")
About three years after their last meeting, Maureen shows up again. She tells Elizabeth (who is back to plain Spiegleman) about her adventure on a lunar exploration in the near future and ruins a job interview. (Told in "Maureen Birnbaum's Lunar Adventure")
There are the best dates I have been able to glean from Maureen's adventures, but there are some problems. The Paul McCartney reference is one, but the more serious problem has to do with the publication of the final two stories. Both "Maureen Birnbaum and the Looming Awfulness" and "Maureen Birnbaum's Lunar Adventure" saw their first general publication in George Alec Effinger's 1993 collection Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson. How could this be when neither of these stories had happened yet in '93?
I have yet to arrive at a good explanation, and Maureen has been no help. She just fixed me with her number 5 smile and said, "The dates are messed up? So sue me! I can't help you with this temporal mechanics stuff, I'm just a fighting woman!"